Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Limiting neurosurgery residents' work hours hasn't decreased complication rates

Date:
November 19, 2012
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
Limits on duty hours for residents in training haven't increased the safety of one common brain operation, concludes a new study.

Limits on duty hours for residents in training haven't increased the safety of one common brain operation, concludes a study in the November issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Hospitals that train neurosurgery residents have had an uptick in complication rates since the work-hour limits were introduced, according to the study led by Drs. Anand I. Rughani, of the University of Toronto, and Travis M. Dumont of University of Buffalo, N.Y. The findings raise concerns that limiting residents' work hours may have contributed to increased complication rates, at least indirectly.

Have Work Limits Affected Neurosurgery Complication Rates?

The study was designed to evaluate the patient safety impact of rules limiting the hours worked by residents, introduced in 2003. The goal of the limits -- a maximum of 88 hours per week -- was to reduce the risk of errors and injury related to resident fatigue.

The researchers analyzed data from a nationwide hospital database from 1998-2002 and 2004-2008 -- five years before and five years after the new work-hour rules. The study focused on surgery to remove benign brain tumors called meningiomas -- a common neurosurgery procedure that did not significantly change in other ways during the periods studied.

Complication rates were assessed for more than 21,000 patients. The study looked at complications not only at teaching hospitals where residents work and train, but also in non-teaching hospitals, which don't train residents.

The data from teaching hospitals showed a significant increase in complication rates after the work-hour limits were introduced: from 14 percent in 1998-2002 to 16 percent in 2004-2008. In contrast, complication rates at non-teaching hospitals remained "nearly constant" -- fifteen percent during both time periods.

The increase in complications at teaching hospitals remained significant after adjustment for other known risk factors -- especially age and medical illnesses.

Ongoing Debate on Impact of Limiting Duty Hours

The findings add a new piece of evidence to the ongoing debate over the impact of work-hour limits -- particularly for neurosurgery residents. Last year, Neurosurgery published a survey study which found that neurosurgery trainees strongly opposed the new limits. Residents felt that working fewer hours had a negative effect on their training opportunities.

The new study shows that, at least for one common neurosurgery procedure, limiting residents' work hours has not increased patient safety. Instead, complication rates actually increased in the years after the new rules were introduced.

Has the increase in complications occurred because residents have less surgical experience? Not necessarily, according to the authors. Other factors, especially age and medical illness, remain strong predictors of complications. Yet it's possible that the limits could have affected risk in other ways -- possibly by leading to "increased patient hand-offs, decreased continuity of care, and thus [increased] errors related to postoperative patient care."

"We would not argue with the idea that fatigue or sleep deprivation contribute to decreases in performance, but the relative contributions of these factors must be carefully weighed against the perhaps more pervasive effects of increased patient hand-offs, increased provider turnover, and decreased familiarity with patients, " says Dr. Rughani.

Dr. Dumont and coauthors believe their study "raises questions about the relationship between work-hour restrictions and clinical care." They discuss the results in light of other studies showing decreased "academic productivity" by residents -- including lower performance on written exams. The researchers conclude, "It could be argued that duty-hour regulation has exerted a common influence across the spectrum of academic, scientific, and clinical activities and performance."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Travis M. Dumont, Bruce I. Tranmer, Michael A. Horgan, Anand I. Rughani. Trends in Neurosurgical Complication Rates at Teaching vs Nonteaching Hospitals Following Duty-Hour Restrictions. Neurosurgery, 2012; 71 (5): 1041 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31826cdd73

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Limiting neurosurgery residents' work hours hasn't decreased complication rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119132106.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2012, November 19). Limiting neurosurgery residents' work hours hasn't decreased complication rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119132106.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Limiting neurosurgery residents' work hours hasn't decreased complication rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119132106.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins