Last week was not a good one for the advancement of surgical research. I’ve already blogged  about two studies that attempted to mystify the teaching of laparoscopic surgery.
On Thursday, MedPage Today  devoted over 700 words to reporting on a study from Archives of Surgery called “Realistic distractions and interruptions that impair simulated surgical performance by novice surgeons.” It was an interesting experiment which looked at the effects of common types of operating room distractions, like cell phone ringing, questions about floor patients and a dropped metal tray, on the performance of simulated laparoscopic surgery. The subjects were all second and third year residents.
The performance of the 18 residents was tested with and without the interruptions. When distractions were present, 8 major errors in the simulated surgery occurred vs. only 1 major error in the non-distracted series, p = 0.02.