Impact of the 80-hour work week on resident emergency operative experience

Am J Surg. 2005 Dec;190(6):947-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2005.08.025.


Background: The goal of this study was to analyze the impact of the 80-hour work week on the emergency operative experience of surgical residents.

Methods: A 2-year retrospective comparison of the operative experience in emergency abdominal procedures of postgraduate year 4 and 5 residents in a city hospital before (group 1) and after (group 2) duty hour restriction.

Results: There was no difference between groups in the mean number of procedures performed as the primary surgeon, but group 2 showed a 40% decrease in technically advanced procedures with a 44% increase in basic procedures. The study also demonstrated a 54% decrease in the operative volume as first assistant. Operative continuity of care by residents decreased from 60% to 26% of cases.

Conclusions: The ACGME regulatory environment is adversely affecting the emergency operative experience of surgical residents. Our findings underscore the need to develop alternative methods to augment the residents' operative experience.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards*
  • Time Factors
  • Workload*