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Medical emergency education using a robot patient in a dental setting




In an ageing society, the frequency of medical emergencies in a dental setting appears to be increasing because of a growing number of medically compromised patients. However, we currently have no dental-specific simulation environment with advanced reproducibility for medical emergencies. Therefore, we used the robot patient in objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) for testing student competence in emergency management. This study aimed to evaluate student responses to medical emergencies in the dental setting.

Material and Methods

We used 98 fifth-grade dental students at Showa University as subjects and implemented the OSCE task entitled ‘Management of medical emergency using a robot patient’. Candidates were asked to manage an emergency situation immediately after local anaesthesia, with one robot patient configured to develop vasovagal syncope and the other to experience adrenaline hypersensitivity. A questionnaire on the educational value of the robot patient was completed after the examination.


Thirty-two per cent of students could not accurately count her pulse because of an inappropriate method. Moreover, 78% could not correctly attach either the tonometer or pulse oximetry to the patient. Accurate diagnoses were given by only 22% of students, with vasovagal syncope diagnosed by 33% and adrenaline hypersensitivity by 8%. From a questionnaire, 78% of students recognised the usefulness of the robot patient in medical emergency training.


We found that student responses to the emergency situation were poor. The robot patient is useful in dental education for medical emergency training and assessment not only for situation management but also for differential diagnosis.