Association between Surgical Trainee Daytime Sleepiness and Intraoperative Technical Skill When Performing Septoplasty

Ya Wei Tseng, S. Swaroop Vedula, Anand Malpani, Narges Ahmidi, Kofi D.O. Boahene, Ira D. Papel, Theda C. Kontis, Jessica Maxwell, John R. Wanamaker, Patrick J Byrne, Sonya Malekzadeh, Gregory D. Hager, Lisa E. Ishii, Masaru Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: Daytime sleepiness in surgical trainees can impair intraoperative technical skill and thus affect their learning and pose a risk to patient safety. Objective: To determine the association between daytime sleepiness of surgeons in residency and fellowship training and their intraoperative technical skill during septoplasty. Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study included 19 surgical trainees in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery programs at 2 academic institutions (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital). The physicians were recruited from June 13, 2016, to April 20, 2018. The analysis includes data that were captured between June 27, 2016, and April 20, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures: Attending physician and surgical trainee self-rated intraoperative technical skill using the Septoplasty Global Assessment Tool (SGAT) and visual analog scales. Daytime sleepiness reported by surgical trainees was measured using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Results: Of 19 surgical trainees, 17 resident physicians (9 female [53%]) and 2 facial plastic surgery fellowship physicians (1 female and 1 male) performed a median of 3.00 septoplasty procedures (range, 1-9 procedures) under supervision by an attending physician. Of the 19 surgical trainees, 10 (53%) were aged 25 to 30 years and 9 (47%) were 31 years or older. The mean ESS score overall was 6.74 (95% CI, 5.96-7.52), and this score did not differ between female and male trainees. The mean ESS score was 7.57 (95% CI, 6.58-8.56) in trainees aged 25 to 30 years and 5.44 (95% CI, 4.32-6.57) in trainees aged 31 years or older. In regression models adjusted for sex, age, postgraduate year, and technical complexity of the procedure, there was a statistically significant inverse association between ESS scores and attending physician-rated technical skill for both SGAT (-0.41; 95% CI, -0.55 to -0.27; P <.001) and the visual analog scale (-0.75; 95% CI, -1.40 to -0.07; P =.03). The association between ESS scores and technical skill was not statistically significant for trainee self-rated SGAT (0.04; 95% CI, -0.17 to 0.24; P =.73) and the self-rated visual analog scale (0.19; 95% CI, -0.79 to 1.2; P =.70). Conclusions and Relevance: The findings suggest that daytime sleepiness of surgical trainees is inversely associated with attending physician-rated intraoperative technical skill when performing septoplasty. Thus, surgical trainees' ability to learn technical skill in the operating room may be influenced by their daytime sleepiness. Level of Evidence: NA..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Facial Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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