Study: Little Sleep May Not Affect Heart Surgeons' Performance

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A Canadian study has shown patients fared equally well when their cardiac surgeons were well-rested as when the surgeons were operating on less than three hours of sleep, according to a Reuters report.

The study followed patients at London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario. It followed six heart surgeons with a total of 4,000 surgeries over six years. During the surgeries, 3.6 percent of the patients died when the surgeons had slept less than three hours. When surgeons had three to six hours of sleep, 2.8 percent of patients died, and 3.4 percent of patients died when the surgeons had rested longer than six hours.

Study leaders have voiced concerns that time restraints and rules regarding duty hours and on-call time may backfire in attempts to improve patient safety, saying surgeons may be better conditioned to perform under low levels of sleep.

Read the Reuters report on heart surgeons and rest.

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