Background: Resident work hours may impact patient care. We hypothesized that "call-associated" acute sleep deprivation has no effect on technical dexterity as measured on a minimally invasive surgery trainer, virtual reality (MIST VR) surgical simulator.
Methods: Thirty-five surgical residents were prospectively evaluated pre-call (rested), on-call (rested), and post-call (acutely sleep deprived). Participants completed questionnaires regarding sleep hours and level of fatigue. Technical skill was assessed using the MIST VR. Speed, errors, and economy of motion were automatically recorded by the MIST VR computer simulator. Data were analyzed by paired Student t test and analysis of variance.
Results: Estimated hours of sleep and subjective indicators of fatigue were different between rested and sleep-deprived residents. The number of errors and time to complete all tasks increased at the post-call assessment.
Conclusions: Resident work schedules lead to sleep deprivation and fatigue. Call-associated sleep deprivation and fatigue are associated with increased technical errors in the performance of simulated laparoscopic surgical skills.