Lack of sleep—not overnight shifts—tied to higher complication rates

According to a study in JAMA, attending surgeons and obstetricians who sleep fewer than six hours between shifts may be at increased risk for making surgical errors.

For the study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and colleagues analyzed 919 surgical and 957 obstetrical procedures performed at the facility between January 1999 and June 2008 by 86 surgeons and 134 obstetricians and gynecologists who had performed procedures the preceding night. They matched the procedures to a control group of 3,552 surgical and 3,945 obstetrical procedures that included as many as five procedures of the same type performed by the same physician on days when physicians did not perform procedures the previous night.

Click here for a related article in the Boston Globe.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, October 15, 2009; Journal of the American Medical Association,, accessed October 23, 2009; The Boston Globe,, accessed October 23, 2009)