Cognitive Assessment of Surgeons During Surgical Procedures: Influence of Time and Intraoperative Complications.

Research paper by Juliana J Beneduzzi, Fernando A M FAM Herbella, Francisco F Schlottmann, Marco G MG Patti

Indexed on: 15 Aug '18Published on: 15 Aug '18Published in: World Journal of Surgery


Surgeon's performance may be influenced by several factors that may affect skills and judgement, which ultimately represents surgeon´s cognition. Cognition refers to all forms of knowing and awareness, such as perceiving, conceiving, remembering, reasoning, judging, imagining, and problem solving. This report aims to evaluate the effect of operative time and operative complications on surgeon´s cognition. Forty-six surgeons (mean age 31 years, 78% males) assigned to an operation expected to last for at least 2 h, volunteered for the study. All participants underwent 3 cognitive tests at the beginning of the operation and hourly, until the end of the procedure: (a) concentration (serial sevens, counting down from 100 by sevens); (b) visual (fast counting, counting the number of circles with the same color among a series of circles); and (c) motor (trail making, connecting a set of numbered dots). Intraoperative complications were recorded. The visual test had a stable behavior along time. Concentration and motor tests tend to be performed faster. Intraoperative complications occurred in 5 (11%) cases (3 hemorrhage and 2 organ injuries). Performance time was stable for concentration and motor tests but visual test tends to be performed faster in cases with an intraoperative complication. Our results showed that (1) time does not jeopardize surgeons' cognition, but rather surgeons learned to perform the tests faster, and (2) complications do not decrease surgeons' cognition.