According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine sleep deprivation does not affect a surgeon’s performance. So if a surgeon is forced to wake up in the middle of the night in case of emergency their performance won’t be any less good the following day.
Most people probably have trouble focusing or even staying awake if they were to wake up so early. The authors of the study noted that acute sleep deprivation highly affects psychomotor function and cognitive function. However after the research team analyzed the procedures conducted on 40.000 patients they were not able to discover any significant difference.
According to the findings of the study those patients who underwent surgery the morning after the surgeon had to wake up in the middle of the night experienced complication or death in only 22.2 percent of the cases. Compared to this percentage the rate of complication and death in normal conditions (when the surgeon had not worked the night before) was of 22.4 percent.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto in collaboration with researchers from University of Toronto analyzed health databases of Ontario between 2007 and 2011. They chose patients who underwent procedures such as spinal surgery, gastric bypass, repair of fractural hip, knee or hip replacement, removal of uterus, gall bladder or part of colon or lung, coronary-artery bypass grafting, coronary angioplasty and craniotomy. The research team also examined information about surgeons, meaning whether they had worked between midnight and 7 AM in the same day.
Sleep deprivation made no difference. 11 percent of the patients died irrespective of the fact that the surgeon had to wake up in the middle of the night or not. Patients in the post-midnight group were less likely to require readmission to the hospital 30 days after the procedure when compared to the control group.
The only notable difference was observed when the surgeons had to treat two or more people after midnight. In that case the patients had 14 percent more chances to experience complications than the control group patients.
The authors of the study concluded that there is no need to introduce limits for work hours because of concerns over patient safety.
Image Source: newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org