Assessing surgeon stress when operating using heart rate variability and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory: will surgery be the death of us?

Jones, K.I. and Amawi, F. and Bhalla, A. and Peacock, O. and Williams, John P. and Lund, Jonathan N. (2015) Assessing surgeon stress when operating using heart rate variability and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory: will surgery be the death of us? Colorectal Disease, 17 (4). pp. 335-341. ISSN 1463-1318

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Abstract

Aim

Performance in the operating room is affected by a combination of individual, patient and environmental factors amongst others. Stress has a potential negative impact on performance with the quality of surgical practice and patient safety being affected as a result. In order to appreciate the level of stress encountered during surgical procedures both objective and subjective methods can be used. This study reports the use of a combined objective (physiological) and subjective (psychological) method for evaluating stress experienced by the operating surgeon.

Method

Six consultant colorectal surgeons were evaluated performing eighteen anterior resections. Heart rate was recorded using a wireless chest strap at eight pre-determined operative steps. Heart Rate Variability indices were calculated offline using computerized software. Surgeon reported stress was collected using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, a validated clinical stress scale.

Results

A significant increase in stress was demonstrated in all surgeons whilst operating as indicated by sympathetic tone (control: 4.02 ± 2.28 vs operative: 11.42 ± 4.63; P < 0.0001). Peaks in stress according to operative step were comparable across procedures and surgeons. There was a significant positive correlation with subjective reporting of stress across procedures (r = 0.766; P = 0.0005).

Conclusion

This study demonstrates a significant increase in sympathetic tone in consultant surgeons measured using heart rate variability during elective colorectal resections. A significant correlation can be demonstrated between HRV measurements and perceived stress using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. A combined approach to assessing operative stress is required to evaluate any effect on performance and outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Stress; heart rate variability; subjective; objective; surgery
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine
Identification Number: 10.1111/codi.12844
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 10:05
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2017 01:08
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/44539

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