PASS-A course in Pediatric Acute Surgical Support to build pediatric surgical emergencies capacity in developing countries



      The burden of pediatric trauma and emergency, including pediatric surgical emergencies in low middle income countries (LMIC) is high. The goal of Pediatric Acute Surgical Support (PASS) course is to prepare caregivers in LMIC for the acute management of life-threatening pediatric surgical emergencies. We aim to show the feasibility of its initial deployment.


      PASS was developed in 2016 with LMIC faculty from a teaching children hospital CH. The course contents consisted of a mix of didactic materials for serious general neonatal and pediatric surgery modified PALS/ATLS, in-person multidisciplinary team-based skill stations, interactive clinical scenarios and simulated trauma cases. The course was subsequently revised and delivered to 92 learners in four classes of 2.5-days sessions at two CHs between 2017 and 2019. Learners’ demographics, written exams, team-based case performance, and post-course survey data were prospectively collected and retrospectively analyzed.


      Physician (60%) and nurse learners (40%) from pediatric critical care (36%), surgery (23%), emergency medicine (20%) and anesthesiology (9%) had 3.6 +/- 3.6 years of clinical practice; pre- and post-course written exam score of 55.4+/-15.5% vs 71.6+/-12.8%, team-based trauma scenario management 22.6 ± 7.8% vs 54.7 ± 16.6% and team-based dynamic scores 17+/- 10% vs 53.3+/- 15.5%, respectively (p<0.0001). Self-reported satisfaction scores were ≥ 95% for course method, level of difficulty, clinical applicability, and quality of instructors.


      PASS is well-received by LMIC learners, with short-term improvement in knowledge-, team-based management of acute pediatric surgery emergencies; and has the potential to be a model of horizontal capacity building for pediatric surgery in LMIC.

      Level of evidence




      ATLS (advanced trauma life support), APLS (advanced pediatric life support), CH (children's hospital), HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City), IPSAC (international specialist alliance for the children of Vietnam), LMIC (low middle income countries), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), PASS (Pediatric Acute Surgical Support), VN (Vietnam)
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