According to Anesthesiology News, partial sleep deprivation can significantly alter various aspects of mood and may ultimately affect the quality of patient care in anesthesiologists.

“It’s a given that residents work hours and hours, but nobody has looked into what happens after residency when anesthesiologists are on night call,” explained Haleh Saadat, MD, FAAP, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. “We thought it was crucial to look into how anesthesiologists are affected, and if fatigue may jeopardize their ability to provide quality patient care.”

Significant Changes In Overall Mood

Dr Saadat and her team assessed 21 pediatric anesthesiologists who agreed to participate in the study. Taking circadian rhythm into account, participants were evaluated at two time points over the duration of the study: once at 7 a.m. on a regular noncall day, and once at 7 a.m. after a 17-hour shift.

A 65-item questionnaire measured elements of mood status and included questions on tension and anxiety, depression and dejection, anger and hostility, vigor and activity, fatigue and inertia, and confusion and bewilderment. The participants’ “total mood disturbance” score was calculated based on the sum of all mood scores, minus vigor. Cognitive tests were similarly administered, and a two-tailed paired t test was used to compare data between both time points.

“The results were quite alarming, but not all that surprising,” Dr Saadat noted during a presentation of her study at the 2015 New York State Society of Anesthesiologists PostGraduate Assembly (Table). “Everything was significantly affected: tension, anger, fatigue, irritability. And from a cognitive standpoint, reaction time, in particular, increased in all subjects.”

Of note, the changes appeared to affect participants across the board, independent of age, sex and experience (the study included 14 male and seven female participants; 12 doctors were between the ages of 30 and 40 years, four between 41 and 50, and five between 51 and 59).

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