Dissecting Cardiac Surgery: A Video-based Recall Protocol to Elucidate Team Cognitive Processes in the Operating Room


Roger D Dias, Marco A Zenati, Heather M Conboy, Lori A Clarke, Leon J Osterweil, George S Avrunin, and Steven J Yule. 2021. “Dissecting Cardiac Surgery: A Video-based Recall Protocol to Elucidate Team Cognitive Processes in the Operating Room.” Ann Surg, 274, 2, Pp. e181-e186.


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.
Last updated on 02/17/2022