Serious games to improve the training of perfusionists in heart surgery

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September 2021

The Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB) is working on the Virtual Perfusionist project: a platform based on 3D games to train to operate a blood pump outside the body in heart surgery.

The Virtual Perfusionist is a learning resource that combines game and simulation for training to operate the heart-lung machines that are used in surgery in which the heart is stopped. The game recreates a narrative thread of a real surgical intervention. It is situated in a virtual 3D operating theatre in which the user must operate the machine according to the behaviour of the virtual patient and communicate with the rest of the clinical team. The aim is to end the intervention with the patient kept within a normal range. The Virtual Perfusionist is not only a new way of learning, but also a new automatic assessment method based on systematic recording of the player’s actions.


The game is aimed mainly at perfusion students and professionals, to significantly improve their technical and communication skills, increase their emotional well-being and contribute to making operations safer. This serious game provides a more economic, accessible form of training that is complementary to conventional training and physical simulation.

The project is led by CREB and developed in collaboration with Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the University of Barcelona (UB). The Virtual Perfusionist will obtain up to 100,000 euros to validate its technologies and design a road map for its valorisation process.

The project was one of three CREB projects that won an award in the CaixaResearch Validate 2021 call of La Caixa Foundation, in collaboration with Caixa Capital Risc and the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT Health), for new biomedical projects with a social impact and with the aim of promoting innovation and transfer of knowledge and technologies in the area of biomedicine and health.

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Serious games to train perfusionists in cardiac surgery interventions