Vall d'Hebron holds the seventh edition of the ECMOBARNA training course in ECMO

The course, directed by Dr. Jordi Riera, brought together around 30 teachers specialised in ECMO from different disciplines.


From 6 to 17 November, Vall d'Hebron organised the seventh edition of the ECMOBARNA course at the Hotel Alimara in Barcelona, a national and international reference training course for healthcare professionals working with the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) device. The course has been conducted in two main blocks, one in virtual format and one in face-to-face format, and has an eminently practical nature, with lectures, opportunities for discussion and debate, practical workshops and high-fidelity simulation.

The use of ECMO has shown remarkable benefits in recent years in critically ill adult patients. However, it is a complex technique, and previous studies have shown that proper training of the professionals caring for the patients is essential to achieve good results. "Training the medical and nursing professionals involved in the process is key so that they can identify which patients can benefit from this support and what are the most important recommendations for their management, with special emphasis on the prevention of complications. The pillars of any ECMO programme must be patient safety, excellence in care and participation in international clinical and research networks", says Dr. Jordi Riera, director of the adult ECMO programme at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and principal investigator of the Shock, Organ Dysfunction and Resuscitation (SODIR) research group at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

In the virtual module, held between 6 and 10 November with more than 200 people, talks were given by national and international experts, always with a participatory and practical approach and with opportunities for discussion and debate with the speakers. Practical videos were also shown and students had the opportunity to participate in interactive clinical cases with voting.

On the other hand, the face-to-face block, held between 13 and 17 November, was divided into several modules adapted to the needs and interests of each of the participants. This format began with the organisation of workshops with different focuses, both for doctors from different specialities and for nurses. Subsequently, they also had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the adult ECMO programme at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, in order to see how a benchmark ECMO unit works, which has already treated more than 430 patients with different pathologies using this support. Finally, training sessions were also held with the Hybrids-Vita high-fidelity ECMO simulator and an animal model.

A course led by leading ECMO experts

The ECMOBARNA course involves the participation of nearly 30 ECMO specialists from different disciplines and specialities, such as intensive care medicine, cardiology, cardiac surgery, nursing and physiotherapy. The training is directed by Dr. Jordi Riera.

Dr. Riera, who is also director of the adult ECMO programme at Vall d'Hebron, currently sits on committees of international reference societies in ECMO: he is a member of the scientific and education committee of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and of the steering committee and coordinator of the EuroELSO working group on infections.

Recently, Dr. Riera has participated in several international events. For example, he participated in the ELSO Annual Congress, being the first person from Spain to present at this world reference congress. He also presented the advances in ECMO in infectious pathology at the Sepsis Update Congress in Weimar (Germany), and participated in the Nordic ECPR Summit, organised by Getinge, on the use of ECMO in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR).

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