Multi-specialty consensus on fundamental ECMO-skills, experts’ opinion: a study protocol


ECMO; modified e-learning; essential skills

Published online: Apr 21 2022

A. Steenhout (*), H. Peperstraete (**), A. Moerman (*), I. Van Herzeele (***)

(*) Department of Anaesthesiology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
(**) Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
(***) Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) can be a life-saving option in critically ill patients. The aim of this study is to generate consensus on essential ECMO skills for developing an e-learning program and fine-tuning of the existing ECMO-simulation program at Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.

A “Modified Delphi questionnaire” approach will be used. This technique is a method for systematic solicitation and collection of judgments on a particular topic. A set of carefully designed sequential questionnaires interspersed with summarized information and feedback of opinions derived from earlier responses is used. Experts, being physicians from different subspecialties, nurses and perfusionists, from different parts in the world are invited to participate using the software platform RedCap® (Research Electronic Data Capture, Nashville, Tennessee). Topics are based on the existing theoretical program and the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) guidelines for didactic sessions, added with new and possible interesting content.

In the first round, experts are asked to score 56 statements about knowledge skills, technical skills and attitude on a 5-point Likert-scale. Additional items, suggestions on wording or any unclarities and comments can be added. Based on the information obtained from round one, the second round Delphi questionnaire will be developed.

A statement will be considered to be a key competency when the internal consistency shows a Cronbach Alpha score >80% and at least 80% of the experts agreed (rating 4/5) or strongly agreed (rating 5/5) with the statement. For statistical analysis SPSS 26.0 (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, IBM Company, US) will be used.