Roger Daglius Dias, MD, PhD, MBA

Cognitive Support to Promote Shared Mental Models during Safety-Critical Situations in Cardiac Surgery (Late Breaking Report)


Christopher L Tarola, Sameer Hirji, Steven J Yule, Jennifer M Gabany, Alessandro Zenati, Roger D Dias, and Marco A Zenati. 2018. “Cognitive Support to Promote Shared Mental Models during Safety-Critical Situations in Cardiac Surgery (Late Breaking Report).” 2018 IEEE Conf Cogn Comput Asp Situat Manag CogSIMA (2018), 2018, Pp. 165-167.


To address the, currently unmet, need for intra-operative safety-critical cognitive support in cardiac surgery, we have developed, validated, and implemented a series of customized checklists to address intra-operative emergencies, using a simulated operative setting. These crisis checklists are designed to provide cognitive and communication support to the operative team to reduce the likelihood of adverse events and improve adherence to best-practice guidelines. We recruited a number of content specialists including members of the hospital safety network and intraoperative cardiac surgery team members, and utilized a Delphi consensus method to develop procedure-specific guidelines for select intraoperative crises. Cardiac surgery team members were subsequently trained on utilizing the developed checklists, performed operative simulations, and were surveyed to determine checklist facility and effectiveness. We developed and validated five checklists for the following cardiac surgery crisis scenarios: (a) Cardiopulmonary Bypass Failure; (b) Systemic Air Embolism; (c) Venous Air Lock; (d) Protamine Reaction; Heparin Resistance. Upon initiation of the crisis management, a crew resource management approach was triggered. A member of the operative team was designated as the “reader” for each scenario to guide the team through the process. After training, 89% of operative team members surveyed indicated that they would like the crisis checklist to be used if they had one of these events occurring to them. Crisis management challenges members of the cardiac surgery team in reasoning accurately and according to best practice during periods of high cognitive workload and psychological stress. These crisis checklists were developed, validated, and simulated with the goal of supporting human performance and shared mental models in the clinical setting.

Last updated on 07/08/2021