Human Patient Simulation Is Effective for Teaching Paramedic Students Endotracheal Intubation


Department of Emergency Medicine, Room C231, Foothills Medical Center, 1403 29th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 2T9 Canada. Fax: 403-944-2419; e-mail:


Objectives: The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether the endotracheal intubation (ETI) success rate is different among paramedic students trained on a human patient simulator versus on human subjects in the operating room (OR). Methods: Paramedic students (n= 36) with no prior ETI training received identical didactic and mannequin teaching. After randomization, students were trained for ten hours on a patient simulator (SIM) or with 15 intubations on human subjects in the OR. All students then underwent a formalized test of 15 intubations in the OR. The primary outcome was the rate of successful intubation. Secondary outcomes were the success rate at first attempt and the complication rate. The study was powered to detect a 10% difference for the overall success rate (α= 0.05, β= 0.20). Results: The overall intubation success rate was 87.8% in the SIM group and 84.8% in the OR group (difference of 3.0% [95% confidence interval {CI} =−4.2% to 10.1%; p = 0.42]). The success rate on the first attempt was 84.4% in the SIM group and 80.0% in the OR group (difference of 4.4% [95% CI =−3.4% to 12.3%; p = 0.27]). The complication rate was 6.3% in the SIM group and 4.4% in the OR group (difference of 1.9% [95% CI =−2.9% to 6.6%; p = 0.44]). Conclusions: When tested in the OR, paramedic students who were trained in ETI on a simulator are as effective as students who trained on human subjects. The results support using simulators to teach ETI.