OBJECTIVE: Evaluate how emotional intelligence (EI) has been measured among surgeons and to investigate interventions implemented for improving EI.
SUMMARY BACKGROUND: EI has relevant applications in surgery given its alignment with nontechnical skills. In recent years, EI has been measured in a surgical context to evaluate its relationship with measures such as surgeon burnout and the surgeon-patient relationship.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PSYCINFO databases using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. MeSH terms and keywords included "emotional intelligence," "surgery," and "surgeon." Eligible studies included an EI assessment of surgeons, surgical residents, and/or medical students within a surgical context.
RESULTS: The initial search yielded 4627 articles. After duplicate removal, 4435 articles were screened by title and abstract and 49 articles proceeded to a full-text read. Three additional articles were found via hand search. A total of 37 articles were included. Studies varied in surgical specialties, settings, and outcome measurements. Most occurred in general surgery, residency programs, and utilized self-report surveys to estimate EI. Notably, EI improved in all studies utilizing an intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: The literature entailing the intersection between EI and surgery is diverse but still limited. Generally, EI has been demonstrated to be beneficial in terms of overall well-being and job satisfaction while also protecting against burnout. EI skills may provide a promising modifiable target to achieve desirable outcomes for both the surgeon and the patient. Future studies may emphasize the relevance of EI in the context of surgical teamwork.
OBJECTIVE: This novel preliminary study sought to capture dynamic changes in heart rate variability (HRV) as a proxy for cognitive workload among perfusionists while operating the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) pump during real-life cardiac surgery.
BACKGROUND: Estimations of operators' cognitive workload states in naturalistic settings have been derived using noninvasive psychophysiological measures. Effective CPB pump operation by perfusionists is critical in maintaining the patient's homeostasis during open-heart surgery. Investigation into dynamic cognitive workload fluctuations, and their relationship with performance, is lacking in the literature.
METHOD: HRV and self-reported cognitive workload were collected from three Board-certified cardiac perfusionists (N = 23 cases). Five HRV components were analyzed in consecutive nonoverlapping 1-min windows from skin incision through sternal closure. Cases were annotated according to predetermined phases: prebypass, three phases during bypass, and postbypass. Values from all 1min time windows within each phase were averaged.
RESULTS: Cognitive workload was at its highest during the time between initiating bypass and clamping the aorta (preclamp phase during bypass), and decreased over the course of the bypass period.
CONCLUSION: We identified dynamic, temporal fluctuations in HRV among perfusionists during cardiac surgery corresponding to subjective reports of cognitive workload. Not only does cognitive workload differ for perfusionists during bypass compared with pre- and postbypass phases, but differences in HRV were also detected within the three bypass phases.
APPLICATION: These preliminary findings suggest the preclamp phase of CPB pump interaction corresponds to higher cognitive workload, which may point to an area warranting further exploration using passive measurement.
OBJECTIVE: Mirrored psychophysiological change in cognitive workload indices may reflect shared mental models and effective healthcare team dynamics. In this exploratory analysis, we investigated the frequency of mirrored changes, defined as concurrent peaks in heart rate variability (HRV) across team members, during cardiac surgery.
DESIGN: Objective cognitive workload was evaluated via HRV collected from the primary surgical team during cardiac surgery cases (N = 15). Root mean square of the successive differences (RMSSD) was calculated as the primary HRV measure. Procedures were divided into consecutive nonoverlapping 5-minute segments, and RMSSD along with deviations from RMSSD were calculated for each segment. Segments with positive deflections represent above-average cognitive workload. Positive deflections and peaks across dyads within the same segment were counted.
SETTING: Data collection for this study took place in the cardiovascular operating room during live surgeries.
PARTICIPANTS: Physiological data were collected and analyzed from the attending surgeon, attending anesthesiologist, and primary perfusionist involved with the recorded cases.
RESULTS: Of the 641 five-minute segments analyzed, 325 (50.7%) were positive deflections above average, concurrently across at least 2 team members. Within the 325 positive deflections, 26 (8%) represented concurrent peaks in HRV across at least 2 active team members. Mirrored peaks across team members were observed most commonly during the coronary anastomoses or valve replacement phase (N = 12).
CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study, mirrored physiological responses representing peaks in cognitive workload were observed uncommonly across dyads of cardiac surgery team members (1.73 peaks/case on average). Almost half of these occurred during the most technically demanding phases of cardiac surgery, which may underpin teamwork quality. Future work should investigate interactions between technical and nontechnical performance surrounding times of mirrored peaks and expand the sample size.
Importance: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) provide the highest level of evidence to evaluate 2 or more surgical interventions. Surgical RCTs, however, face unique challenges in design and implementation.
Objective: To evaluate the design, conduct, and reporting of contemporary surgical RCTs.
Evidence Review: A literature search performed in the 2 journals with the highest impact factor in general medicine as well as 6 key surgical specialties was conducted to identify RCTs published between 2008 and 2020. All RCTs describing a surgical intervention in both experimental and control arms were included. The quality of included data was assessed by establishing an a priori protocol containing all the details to extract. Trial characteristics, fragility index, risk of bias (Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 Tool), pragmatism (Pragmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary 2 [PRECIS-2]), and reporting bias were assessed.
Findings: A total of 388 trials were identified. Of them, 242 (62.4%) were registered; discrepancies with the published protocol were identified in 81 (33.5%). Most trials used superiority design (329 [84.8%]), and intention-to-treat as primary analysis (221 [56.9%]) and were designed to detect a large treatment effect (50.0%; interquartile range [IQR], 24.7%-63.3%). Only 123 trials (31.7%) used major clinical events as the primary outcome. Most trials (303 [78.1%]) did not control for surgeon experience; only 17 trials (4.4%) assessed the quality of the intervention. The median sample size was 122 patients (IQR, 70-245 patients). The median follow-up was 24 months (IQR, 12.0-32.0 months). Most trials (211 [54.4%]) had some concern of bias and 91 (23.5%) had high risk of bias. The mean (SD) PRECIS-2 score was 3.52 (0.65) and increased significantly over the study period. Most trials (212 [54.6%]) reported a neutral result; reporting bias was identified in 109 of 211 (51.7%). The median fragility index was 3.0 (IQR, 1.0-6.0). Multiplicity was detected in 175 trials (45.1%), and only 35 (20.0%) adjusted for multiple comparisons.
Conclusions and Relevance: In this systematic review, the size of contemporary surgical trials was small and the focus was on minor clinical events. Trial registration remained suboptimal and discrepancies with the published protocol and reporting bias were frequent. Few trials controlled for surgeon experience or assessed the quality of the intervention.
Surgical time-outs are designed to promote situation awareness, teamwork, and error prevention. The pre-incision time-out in particular aims to facilitate shared mental models prior to incision. Objective, unbiased measures to confirm its effectiveness are lacking. We hypothesized that providers' mental workload would reveal team psychophysiological mirroring during a formal, well-executed pre-incision time-out. Heart rate variability was collected during cardiac surgery cases from the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and perfusionist. Data were analyzed for six cases from patient arrival until sternal closure. Annotation of surgical phases was completed according to previously developed standardized process models of aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft procedures, producing thirteen total surgical phases. Statistical analysis revealed significant main effects. Tukey HSD post hoc tests revealed significant differences across provider roles within various phases, including Anesthesia Induction, Heparinization, Initiation of Bypass, Aortic Clamp and Cardioplegia, Anastomoses or Aortotomy, Separation from Bypass, and Sternal Closure. Despite these observed differences between providers over various surgical phases, the Pre-incision Time-out phase revealed almost negligible differences across roles. This preliminary work supports the utility of the pre-incision safety checklist to focus the attention of surgical team members and promote shared team mental models, measured via psychophysiological mirroring, using an objective mental workload measure. Future studies should investigate the relationship between psychophysiological mirroring among surgical team members and the effectiveness of the pre-incision time-out checklist.
Effectiveness of computer vision techniques has been demonstrated through a number of applications, both within and outside healthcare. The operating room environment specifically is a setting with rich data sources compatible with computational approaches and high potential for direct patient benefit. The aim of this review is to summarize major topics in computer vision for surgical domains. The major capabilities of computer vision are described as an aid to surgical teams to improve performance and contribute to enhanced patient safety. Literature was identified through leading experts in the fields of surgery, computational analysis and modeling in medicine, and computer vision in healthcare. The literature supports the application of computer vision principles to surgery. Potential applications within surgery include operating room vigilance, endoscopic vigilance, and individual and team-wide behavioral analysis. To advance the field, we recommend collecting and publishing carefully annotated datasets. Doing so will enable the surgery community to collectively define well-specified common objectives for automated systems, spur academic research, mobilize industry, and provide benchmarks with which we can track progress. Leveraging computer vision approaches through interdisciplinary collaboration and advanced approaches to data acquisition, modeling, interpretation, and integration promises a powerful impact on patient safety, public health, and financial costs.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to elucidate the cognitive processes involved in surgical procedures from the perspective of different team roles (surgeon, anesthesiologist, and perfusionist) and provide a comprehensive compilation of intraoperative cognitive processes.
SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Nontechnical skills play a crucial role in surgical team performance and understanding the cognitive processes underlying the intraoperative phase of surgery is essential to improve patient safety in the operating room (OR).
METHODS: A mixed-methods approach encompassing semistructured interviews with 9 subject-matter experts. A cognitive task analysis was built upon a hierarchical segmentation of coronary artery bypass grafting procedures and a cued-recall protocol using video vignettes was used.
RESULTS: A total of 137 unique surgical cognitive processes were identified, including 33 decision points, 23 critical communications, 43 pitfalls, and 38 strategies. Self-report cognitive workload varied substantially, depending on team role and surgical step. A web-based dashboard was developed, providing an integrated visualization of team cognitive processes in the OR that allows readers to intuitively interact with the study findings.
CONCLUSIONS: This study advances the current body of knowledge by making explicit relevant cognitive processes involved during the intraoperative phase of cardiac surgery from the perspective of multiple OR team members. By displaying the research findings in an interactive dashboard, we provide trainees with new knowledge in an innovative fashion that could be used to enhance learning outcomes. In addition, the approach used in the present study can be used to deeply understand the cognitive factors underlying surgical adverse events and errors in the OR.
BACKGROUND: Monitoring oxygen delivery to the oxygenator of a heart lung machine (HLM) is typically accomplished with an O2 analyzer connected to the gas inflow line. It is assumed when the FiO2 is greater than 21% that oxygen is being delivered to the oxygenator. However, this assumption is imperfect because the connection of the inflow line to the oxygenator is downstream from the O2 analyzer. FiO2 monitoring will not alert the perfusionist if the inflow line is not actually connected to the oxygenator. Measuring the fraction of expired oxygen (FEO2) is a more reliable way of monitoring O2 delivery.
METHODS: An O2 analyzer was placed on the scavenging line that is attached to the exhaust port of oxygenator (FEO2).
RESULTS: Whenever the FiO2 is greater than 21%, and the inflow line is properly connected, the FEO2 exiting the oxygenator is greater than 21%. The FEO2 falls to 21% when the inflow line is not functioning.
CONCLUSION: Monitoring the FEO2 is a more reliable way to verify O2 delivery to an oxygenator. An alarm can be set on the FEO2 monitor to alert the perfusionist if the FEO2 falls below a predetermined threshold so any issue with O2 delivery will always be recognized.
The tremendous and rapid technological advances that humans have achieved in the last decade have definitely impacted how surgical tasks are performed in the operating room (OR). As a high-tech work environment, the contemporary OR has incorporated novel computational systems into the clinical workflow, aiming to optimize processes and support the surgical team. Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly important for surgical decision making to help address diverse sources of information, such as patient risk factors, anatomy, disease natural history, patient values and cost, and assist surgeons and patients to make better predictions regarding the consequences of surgical decisions. In this review, we discuss the current initiatives that are using AI in cardiothoracic surgery and surgical care in general. We also address the future of AI and how high-tech ORs will leverage human-machine teaming to optimize performance and enhance patient safety.
Cardiac surgery represents a complex sociotechnical environment relying on a combination of technical and non-technical team-based expertise. Surgical flow disruptions (SFDs) may be influenced by a variety of sources, including social, environmental, and emotional factors affecting healthcare providers (HCPs). Many of these factors can be readily observed, except for emotional factors (i.e. distress), which represents an underappreciated yet critical source of SFDs. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the sensitivity of autonomic activity metrics to detect an SFD during cardiac surgery. We integrated heart rate variability (HRV) analysis with observation-based annotations to allow data triangulation. Following a critical medication administration error by the anesthesiologist in-training, data sources were consulted to identify events precipitating this near-miss event. Using pyphysio, an open-source physiological signal processing package, we analyzed the attending anesthesiologists' HRV, specifically the low frequency (LF) power, high frequency (HF) power, LF/HF ratio, standard deviation of normal-to-normal (SDNN), and root mean square of the successive differences (RMSSD) as indicators of ANS activity. A heightened SNS response in the attending anesthesiologists' physiological arousal was observed as elevations in LF power and LF/HF ratio, as well as depressions in HF power, SDNN, and RMSSD prior to the near-miss event. The attending anesthesiologist subjectively confirmed a state of high distress induced by task-irrelevant environmental factors during this time. Qualitative analysis of audio/video recordings objectively revealed that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) activation detected was temporally associated with an argument over operating room management. This study confirms that it is possible to recognize detrimental psychophysiological influences in cardiac surgery procedures via advanced HRV analysis. To our knowledge, ours is the first such case demonstrating ANS activity coinciding with strong self-reported emotion during live surgery using HRV. Despite extensive experience in the cardiac OR, transient but intense emotional changes may have the potential to disrupt attention processes in even the most experienced HCP. A primary implication of this work is the possibility to detect real-time ANS activity, which could enable personalized interventions to proactively mitigate downstream adverse events. Additional studies on our large database of surgical cases are underway and new studies are actively being planned to confirm this preliminary observation.
Introduction: The complexities and risks inherent to the field of surgery and surgical interventions present unique challenges to the design and analysis of surgical randomized controlled trials (RCT). Prior studies have investigated the practical and methodologic challenges posed by surgical RCTs. To date, however, a comprehensive analysis of the contemporary literature across multiple surgical subspecialties does not exist. In this descriptive analysis, we set out to characterize surgical RCTs over the past 10 years across six major surgical specialties.
Methods and analysis: A literature search by a medical librarian will be performed to identify all surgical randomized clinical trials published between January 2009 and December 2019 in the two journals with the highest impact factor for six surgical specialties as well as two large general medicine journals. Two reviewers will independently screen the citations retrieved from the literature search and extract data according to a previously described protocol via a pre-defined data collection form. Categorical variables will be reported as counts and percentages. Following assessment of normality, continuous variables will be reported as mean (standard deviation) or median (inter-quartile range). Based on normality of data, independent t-test or the Mann-Whitney U test will be used to compare continuous variables and chi-square and Fisher's exact tests to compare categorical variables. Comparisons across multiple sets will be performed using ANOVA or Kruskak-Wallis tests. Two-sided significance testing will be used and a p-value <0.05 will be considered significant without adjustment for multiple testing. All analyses will be performed using SPSS version 24 and R within RStudio. PROSPERO (ID number: 162797).
Ethics and dissemination: There are no ethical concerns directly pertinent to this systematic review. The retrieved data will be made available upon request. The study will be written in English and submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Cognitive engineering is focused on how humans can cope and master the complexity of processes and technological environments. In cardiothoracic surgery, the goal is to support safe and effective human performance by preventing medical errors. Strategies derived from cognitive engineering research could be introduced in cardiothoracic surgery practice in the near future to enhance patient safety and outcomes.
Surgical processes are rapidly being adapted to address the COVID-19 pandemic, with changes in procedures and responsibilities being made to protect both patients and medical teams. These process changes put new cognitive demands on the medical team and increase the likelihood of miscommunication, lapses in judgment, and medical errors. We describe two process model driven cognitive aids, referred to as the Narrative View and the Smart Checklist View, generated automatically from models of the processes. The immediate perceived utility of these cognitive aids is to support medical simulations, particularly when frequent adaptations are needed to quickly respond to changing operating room guidelines.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the use of epiaortic ultrasound in contemporary cardiac surgery, as well as its impact on surgical cannulation strategy and cerebrovascular events.
DESIGN: Epiaortic ultrasound data was prospectively collected in the Randomized Endovein Graft Prospective (REGROUP) trial (VA Cooperative Studies Program #588, ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01850082), which randomized 1,150 coronary artery bypass graft patients between 2014 and 2017 to endoscopic or open-vein graft harvest.
SETTING: Sixteen cardiac surgery programs within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System with expertise at performing endoscopic vein-graft harvesting.
PARTICIPANTS: Veterans Affairs patients, greater than 18 years of age, undergoing elective or urgent coronary artery bypass grafting with cardiopulmonary bypass and cardioplegic arrest with at least one planned saphenous vein graft were eligible for enrollment.
INTERVENTIONS: Epiaortic ultrasound was performed by the surgeon using a high frequency (>7 MHz) ultrasound transducer. Two-dimensional images of the ascending aorta in multiple planes were acquired before aortic cannulation and cross-clamping.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Epiaortic ultrasound was performed in 34.1% (269 of 790) of patients in REGROUP. Among these patients, simple intraluminal atheroma was observed in 21.9% (59 269), and complex intraluminal atheroma comprised 2.2% (6 of 269). The aortic cannulation or cross-clamp strategy was modified based on these findings in 7.1% of cases (19 of 269). There was no difference in stroke between patients who underwent epiaortic ultrasound and those who did not (1.9% v 1.2% p = 0.523).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite current guidelines recommending routine use of epiaortic ultrasound (IIa/B) to reduce the risk of stroke in cardiac surgery, in this contemporary trial, use remains infrequent, with significant site-to-site variability.