PURPOSE: To determine the effect of acute sleep deprivation related to long on-call duration on the mood and alertness level, which may impair physicians’ performance.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional comparative study, junior physicians in a university hospital were included. Each participant was interviewed before and after on-call. Data were obtained using a questionnaire that included questions pertaining to socio-demographic factors, working hours, sleep patterns, Profile of Mood Status, and Stanford Sleepiness Scale. Questions regarding sleep patterns during the on-call night were added to post-on-call assessment. On comparing the duration physicians slept during on-call night with their usual sleep duration, physicians were classified into 3 groups: group 1, physicians slept for a much shorter duration; group 2, physicians slept for a shorter duration; and group 3, physicians slept for the same duration as usual.
RESULTS: The sample population comprised 87 junior physicians; of these, 48 (56%) were men. More than 87% of the participant slept ≤ five hours during on-call. Two-thirds slept for a much shorter duration than usual during on call; these participants were quite sleepy post-on-call according to the Stanford Sleepiness Scale scores (p value = 0.002). The pre and post-on-call total Profile of Mood Status scores significantly differed for group 1 and group 2 but not for group 3. Post-on-call depression, confusion, and fatigue scores significantly increased while vigor decreased in group 1 (56%), (p values = 0.037, 0.00, 0.00, and 0.00, respectively). In group 2 (37.5%), the physicians showed significant increase in confusion and decrease in vigor post-on-call (p values = 0.018 and 0.046, respectively). Significant changes in scores were not observed in group 3 (6.8%).
CONCLUSIONS: Acute sleep deprivation related to long on-call duration in junior physicians significantly affects the Profile of Mood Status score and severity of daytime sleepiness. These effects seem to be directly related to the severity of sleep deprivation
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The efficacy and feasibility of the current policy that regulates junior physicians’ schedules should be appraised.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Siraj Wali, Lujain Abushanab, Karimah Quotah, Ayman Krayem
No Product/Research Disclosure Information