Surgeons under Stress Prone to Make More Mistakes during Operations

A new study finds that surgeons make up to 66 percent more mistakes during stressful moments in the operating room. Researchers have found that short-term stress in surgeons can be triggered by loud noise in the operating room or by negative thoughts. This stress can result in more bleeding, burns or even torn tissues. Such medical errors are responsible for causing approximately 250,000-440,000 deaths in the U.S, annually. Researchers are aiming to find a way to reduce stress in surgeons to decrease the number of such deaths.

Researchers Develop Technique to Measure Stress Levels during Surgeries

Peter Dupont Grantcharov, a student from the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, has implemented the idea of wearing a Hexoskin Smart Shirt under the scrubs for surgeons. The shirt is designed to measure electrical impulses of heartbeats and gives accurate physiological data during physical activities. After the experiment, the result showed a change in heartbeats of the surgeons. This clearly indicated existing momentary stress levels in surgeons.

Grantcharov also took an approach towards finding the effect of short-term stress on medical or surgical errors. He found that the elevation of surgeon’s stress levels and surgical errors happened at the same time. Grantcharov aims at finding the exact cause of stress on surgical personnel. Equipment malfunctions, machine alarms, side conversations during operations and interactions with patient’s family, mostly distracts surgeons. Such issues can also interrupt their surgical performance.

Researchers are further expected to deeply concentrate on learning, analyzing, and collecting data associated with stress and surgical performances. In this way, they hope to find a solution that could reduce the number of surgical deaths.