Longer Surgery, Night Duty Tied to Stress Among Surgeons

Longer surgery linked to higher mental workload scores; night duty linked to stress marker

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Surgeons face stress associated with longer surgeries and decreased arousal following night shifts, according to research published online Nov. 15 in the Archives of Surgery.

Koji Yamaguchi, M.D., of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, Japan, and colleagues analyzed data from 66 Japanese surgeons. The surgeons completed NASA Task Load Index questionnaires (evaluating mental workload) and Stress Arousal Checklists, and provided more than 1,000 urine samples for assessment of biopyrin, reflecting oxidative stress.

The researchers found that Task Load Index scores rose significantly along with duration of surgery and amount of surgical blood loss. Biopyrin levels increased significantly along with duration of surgery. Nighttime duty was associated with less sleep time and increased urine biopyrin levels. Arousal scale scores on the Stress Arousal Checklist fell the morning after night duty and in the evening after the end of the next day shift.

"In Japan, surgeons usually work after night duty in most hospitals. The present study demonstrated the stress of night duty on surgeons subjectively and objectively. Surgeons' working conditions, including night duty, should be improved to enhance the quality of life for surgeons, resulting in fewer errors in operations and medical treatment and better medical services for patients," the authors conclude.

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