Objective: To examine the effect of previous-day excessive alcohol consumption on lapaorscopic surgical performance. Design: Study 1 was a randomized controlled trial. Study 2 was a cohort study. Setting: Surgical skills laboratory. Participants: Sixteen science students (lapaorscopic novices) participated in study 1. Eight lapaorscopic experts participated in study 2. Interventions: All participants were trained on the Minimally Invasive Surgical Trainer Virtual Reality (MIST-VR). The participants in study 1 were randomized to either abstain from alcohol or consume alcohol until intoxicated. All study 2 subjects freely consumed alcohol until intoxicated. Subjects were assessed the following day at 9 AM, 1 PM, and 4 PM on MIST-VR tasks. Main Outcome Measures: Assessment measures included time, economy of diathermy use, and error scores. Results: In study 1, both groups performed similarly at baseline, but the alcohol groupshoweddeterioration onall performance measures after alcohol consumption. Overall, althoughthetimescore differencesbetweenthe2groups were not statistically significant (P=.29), there was a significant differencebetweenthe2groups'diathermy(P<.03) anderror (P<.003)scores. Therewasalsoasignificant effect for time of testing (P<.003), diathermy (P<.001), and errors (P<.001). In study 2, experts demonstrated a similar postalcohol performance decrement for time (P<.02), diathermy (P<.001), and error scores (P<.001). Conclusion: Excessive consumption of alcohol appeared to degrade surgical performance the following day even at 4 PM, suggesting the need to define recommendations regarding alcohol consumption the night before assuming clinical surgical responsibilities.
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