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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

Does our sleep debt affect patients' safety?


1 Department of Anesthesiology, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, India
2 Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA
3 Department of Neuroanesthesiology, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
4 Department of Critical Care Medicine, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, India

Correspondence Address:
Anurag Tewari
Department of Anesthesiology, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana 141 001
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.76572

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The provision of anaesthesia requires a high level of knowledge, sound judgement, fast and accurate responses to clinical situations, and the capacity for extended periods of vigilance. With changing expectations and arising medico-legal issues, anaesthesiologists are working round the clock to provide efficient and timely health care services, but little is thought whether the "sleep provider" is having adequate sleep. Decreased performance of motor and cognitive functions in a fatigued anaesthesiologist may result in impaired judgement, late and inadequate responses to clinical changes, poor communication and inadequate record keeping, all of which affect the patient safety, showing without doubt the association of sleep debt to the adverse events and critical incidents. Perhaps it is time that these issues be promptly addressed to prevent the silent perpetuation of a problem that is pertinent to our health and our profession. We endeavour to focus on the evidence that links patient safety to fatigue and sleepiness of health care workers and specifically on anaesthesiologists. The implications of sleep debt are deep on patient safety and strategies to prevent this are the need of the hour.


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