Background Concerns persist regarding the effect of current surgical resident duty-hour policies on patient outcomes, resident education, and resident well-being. Methods We conducted a national, cluster-randomized, pragmatic, noninferiority trial involving 117 general surgery residency programs in the United States (2014-2015 academic year). Programs were randomly assigned to current Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour policies (standard-policy group) or more flexible policies that waived rules on maximum shift lengths and time off between shifts (flexible-policy group). Outcomes included the 30-day rate of postoperative death or serious complications (primary outcome), other postoperative complications, and resident perceptions and satisfaction regarding their well-being, education, and patient care. Results In an analysis of data from 138,691 patients, flexible, less-restrictive duty-hour policies were not associated with an increased rate of death or serious complications (9.1% in the flexible-policy group and 9.0% in the standard-policy group, P=0.92; unadjusted odds ratio for the flexible-policy group, 0.96; 92% confidence interval, 0.87 to 1.06; P=0.44; noninferiority criteria satisfied) or of any secondary postoperative outcomes studied. Among 4330 residents, those in programs assigned to flexible policies did not report significantly greater dissatisfaction with overall education quality (11.0% in the flexible-policy group and 10.7% in the standard-policy group, P=0.86) or well-being (14.9% and 12.0%, respectively; P=0.10). Residents under flexible policies were less likely than those under standard policies to perceive negative effects of duty-hour policies on multiple aspects of patient safety, continuity of care, professionalism, and resident education but were more likely to perceive negative effects on personal activities. There were no significant differences between study groups in resident-reported perception of the effect of fatigue on personal or patient safety. Residents in the flexible-policy group were less likely than those in the standard-policy group to report leaving during an operation (7.0% vs. 13.2%, P<0.001) or handing off active patient issues (32.0% vs. 46.3%, P<0.001). Conclusions As compared with standard duty-hour policies, flexible, less-restrictive duty-hour policies for surgical residents were associated with noninferior patient outcomes and no significant difference in residents' satisfaction with overall well-being and education quality. (FIRST ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02050789 .).
Background Long-term results from randomized, controlled trials that compare medical therapy with surgical therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes are limited. Methods We assessed outcomes 5 years after 150 patients who had type 2 diabetes and a body-mass index (BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 27 to 43 were randomly assigned to receive intensive medical therapy alone or intensive medical therapy plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. The primary outcome was a glycated hemoglobin level of 6.0% or less with or without the use of diabetes medications. Results Of the 150 patients who underwent randomization, 1 patient died during the 5-year follow-up period; 134 of the remaining 149 patients (90%) completed 5 years of follow-up. At baseline, the mean (±SD) age of the 134 patients was 49±8 years, 66% were women, the mean glycated hemoglobin level was 9.2±1.5%, and the mean BMI was 37±3.5. At 5 years, the criterion for the primary end point was met by 2 of 38 patients (5%) who received medical therapy alone, as compared with 14 of 49 patients (29%) who underwent gastric bypass (unadjusted P=0.01, adjusted P=0.03, P=0.08 in the intention-to-treat analysis) and 11 of 47 patients (23%) who underwent sleeve gastrectomy (unadjusted P=0.03, adjusted P=0.07, P=0.17 in the intention-to-treat analysis). Patients who underwent surgical procedures had a greater mean percentage reduction from baseline in glycated hemoglobin level than did patients who received medical therapy alone (2.1% vs. 0.3%, P=0.003). At 5 years, changes from baseline observed in the gastric-bypass and sleeve-gastrectomy groups were superior to the changes seen in the medical-therapy group with respect to body weight (-23%, -19%, and -5% in the gastric-bypass, sleeve-gastrectomy, and medical-therapy groups, respectively), triglyceride level (-40%, -29%, and -8%), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (32%, 30%, and 7%), use of insulin (-35%, -34%, and -13%), and quality-of-life measures (general health score increases of 17, 16, and 0.3; scores on the RAND 36-Item Health Survey ranged from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better health) (P<0.05 for all comparisons). No major late surgical complications were reported except for one reoperation. Conclusions Five-year outcome data showed that, among patients with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 27 to 43, bariatric surgery plus intensive medical therapy was more effective than intensive medical therapy alone in decreasing, or in some cases resolving, hyperglycemia. (Funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and others; STAMPEDE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00432809 .).
Background Whether arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for symptomatic patients with a meniscal tear and knee osteoarthritis results in better functional outcomes than nonoperative therapy is uncertain. Methods We conducted a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving symptomatic patients 45 years of age or older with a meniscal tear and evidence of mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis on imaging. We randomly assigned 351 patients to surgery and postoperative physical therapy or to a standardized physical-therapy regimen (with the option to cross over to surgery at the discretion of the patient and surgeon). The patients were evaluated at 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome was the difference between the groups with respect to the change in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) physical-function score (ranging from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more severe symptoms) 6 months after randomization. Results In the intention-to-treat analysis, the mean improvement in the WOMAC score after 6 months was 20.9 points (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.9 to 23.9) in the surgical group and 18.5 (95% CI, 15.6 to 21.5) in the physical-therapy group (mean difference, 2.4 points; 95% CI, -1.8 to 6.5). At 6 months, 51 active participants in the study who were assigned to physical therapy alone (30%) had undergone surgery, and 9 patients assigned to surgery (6%) had not undergone surgery. The results at 12 months were similar to those at 6 months. The frequency of adverse events did not differ significantly between the groups. Conclusions In the intention-to-treat analysis, we did not find significant differences between the study groups in functional improvement 6 months after randomization; however, 30% of the patients who were assigned to physical therapy alone underwent surgery within 6 months. (Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; METEOR ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00597012 .).
Objective To examine the effect of surgeon sex on postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing common surgical procedures.Design Population based, retrospective, matched cohort study from 2007 to 2015.Setting Population based cohort of all patients treated in Ontario, Canada.Participants Patients undergoing one of 25 surgical procedures performed by a female surgeon were matched by patient age, patient sex, comorbidity, surgeon volume, surgeon age, and hospital to patients undergoing the same operation by a male surgeon.Interventions Sex of treating surgeon.Main outcome measure The primary outcome was a composite of death, readmission, and complications. We compared outcomes between groups using generalised estimating equations.Results 104 630 patients were treated by 3314 surgeons, 774 female and 2540 male. Before matching, patients treated by female doctors were more likely to be female and younger but had similar comorbidity, income, rurality, and year of surgery. After matching, the groups were comparable. Fewer patients treated by female surgeons died, were readmitted to hospital, or had complications within 30 days (5810 of 52 315, 11.1%, 95% confidence interval 10.9% to 11.4%) than those treated by male surgeons (6046 of 52 315, 11.6%, 11.3% to 11.8%; adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 0.92 to 0.99, P=0.02). Patients treated by female surgeons were less likely to die within 30 days (adjusted odds ratio 0.88; 0.79 to 0.99, P=0.04), but there was no significant difference in readmissions or complications. Stratified analyses by patient, physician, and hospital characteristics did not significant modify the effect of surgeon sex on outcome. A retrospective analysis showed no difference in outcomes by surgeon sex in patients who had emergency surgery, where patients do not usually choose their surgeon.Conclusions After accounting for patient, surgeon, and hospital characteristics, patients treated by female surgeons had a small but statistically significant decrease in 30 day mortality and similar surgical outcomes (length of stay, complications, and readmission), compared with those treated by male surgeons. These findings support the need for further examination of the surgical outcomes and mechanisms related to physicians and the underlying processes and patterns of care to improve mortality, complications, and readmissions for all patients.
Diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles (DRAM) is characterised by thinning and widening of the linea alba, combined with laxity of the ventral abdominal musculature. This causes the midline to “bulge” when intra-abdominal pressure is increased. Plastic surgery treatment for DRAM has been thoroughly evaluated, though general surgical treatments and the efficacy of physiotherapy remain elusive. The aim of this systematic literature review is to evaluate both general surgical and physiotherapeutic treatment options for restoring DRAM in terms of postoperative complications, patient satisfaction, and recurrence rates.
BACKGROUND: Video-games have become an integral part of the new multimedia culture. Several studies assessed video-gaming enhancement of spatial attention and eye-hand coordination. Considering the technical difficulty of laparoscopic procedures, legal issues and time limitations, the validation of appropriate training even outside of the operating rooms is ongoing. We investigated the influence of a four-week structured Nintendo® Wii™ training on laparoscopic skills by analyzing performance metrics with a validated simulator (Lap Mentor™, Simbionix™). METHODOLOGYPRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed a prospective randomized study on 42 post-graduate I-II year residents in General, Vascular and Endoscopic Surgery. All participants were tested on a validated laparoscopic simulator and then randomized to group 1 (Controls, no training with the Nintendo® Wii™), and group 2 (training with the Nintendo® Wii™) with 21 subjects in each group, according to a computer-generated list. After four weeks, all residents underwent a testing session on the laparoscopic simulator of the same tasks as in the first session. All 42 subjects in both groups improved significantly from session 1 to session 2. Compared to controls, the Wii group showed a significant improvement in performance (p<0.05) for 13 of the 16 considered performance metrics. CONCLUSIONSSIGNIFICANCE: The Nintendo® Wii™ might be helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training of young laparoscopists, in addition to a standard surgical education based on simulators and the operating room.
Objectives To assess self reported outcomes and adverse events after self sourced medical abortion through online telemedicine.Design Population based study.Setting Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where abortion is unavailable through the formal healthcare system except in a few restricted circumstances.Population 1000 women who underwent self sourced medical abortion through Women on Web (WoW), an online telemedicine service, between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012.Main outcome measures Successful medical abortion: the proportion of women who reported ending their pregnancy without surgical intervention. Rates of adverse events: the proportion who reported treatment for adverse events, including receipt of antibiotics and blood transfusion, and deaths reported by family members, friends, or the authorities. Care seeking for symptoms of potential complications: the frequency with which women reported experiencing symptoms of a potentially serious complication and the proportion who reported seeking medical attention as advised.Results In 2010-12, abortion medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) were sent to 1636 women and follow-up information was obtained for 1158 (71%). Among these, 1023 women confirmed use of the medications, and follow-up information was available for 1000. At the time women requested help from WoW, 781 (78%) were <7 weeks pregnant and 219 (22%) were 7-9 weeks pregnant. Overall, 94.7% (95% confidence interval 93.1% to 96.0%) reported successfully ending their pregnancy without surgical intervention. Seven women (0.7%, 0.3% to 1.5%) reported receiving a blood transfusion, and 26 (2.6%, 1.7% to 3.8%) reported receiving antibiotics (route of administration (IV or oral) could not be determined). No deaths resulting from the intervention were reported by family, friends, the authorities, or the media. Ninety three women (9.3%, 7.6% to 11.3%) reported experiencing any symptom for which they were advised to seek medical advice, and, of these, 87 (95%, 87.8% to 98.2%) sought attention. None of the five women who did not seek medical attention reported experiencing an adverse outcome.Conclusions Self sourced medical abortion using online telemedicine can be highly effective, and outcomes compare favourably with in clinic protocols. Reported rates of adverse events are low. Women are able to self identify the symptoms of potentially serious complications, and most report seeking medical attention when advised. Results have important implications for women worldwide living in areas where access to abortion is restricted.
Background The 340B Drug Pricing Program entitles qualifying hospitals to discounts on outpatient drugs, increasing the profitability of drug administration. By tying the program eligibility of hospitals to their Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) adjustment percentage, which reflects the proportion of hospitalized patients who are low-income, the program is intended to expand resources for underserved populations but provides no direct incentives for hospitals to use financial gains to enhance care for low-income patients. Methods We used Medicare claims and a regression-discontinuity design, taking advantage of the threshold for program eligibility among general acute care hospitals (DSH percentage, >11.75%), to isolate the effects of the program on hospital-physician consolidation (i.e., acquisition of physician practices or employment of physicians by hospitals) and on the outpatient administration of parenteral drugs by hospital-owned facilities in three specialties in which parenteral drugs are frequently used. For low-income patients, we also assessed the effects of the program on the provision of care by hospitals and on mortality. Results Hospital eligibility for the 340B Program was associated with 2.3 more hematologist-oncologists practicing in facilities owned by the hospital, or 230% more hematologist-oncologists than expected in the absence of the program (P=0.02), and with 0.9 (or 900%) more ophthalmologists per hospital (P=0.08) and 0.1 (or 33%) more rheumatologists per hospital (P=0.84). Program eligibility was associated with significantly higher numbers of parenteral drug claims billed by hospitals for Medicare patients in hematology-oncology (90% higher, P=0.001) and ophthalmology (177% higher, P=0.03) but not rheumatology (77% higher, P=0.12). Program eligibility was associated with lower proportions of low-income patients in hematology-oncology and ophthalmology and with no significant differences in hospital provision of safety-net or inpatient care for low-income groups or in mortality among low-income residents of the hospitals' local service areas. Conclusions The 340B Program has been associated with hospital-physician consolidation in hematology-oncology and with more hospital-based administration of parenteral drugs in hematology-oncology and ophthalmology. Financial gains for hospitals have not been associated with clear evidence of expanded care or lower mortality among low-income patients. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and others.).
Industry payments to surgeons have received public attention, but little is known about the relationships between surgeons and medical device representatives. Medical device representatives (“device reps”) have become an integral part of operating room personnel. The effect of their presence on patient care deserves discussion.
Small pharmacies that produce and package (or repackage) specific drugs for individual patients are an important part of the medical landscape. These so-called compounding pharmacies formulate therapeutic and diagnostic products for physicians in practice and those engaged in research. They make individualized chemotherapeutic agents, noncommercial formulations (e.g., a liquid rather than a tablet) and doses, preservative-free and dye-free products, flavored products, combination products, products without specific allergens, diagnostic agents, and other customized products. These pharmacies are essential if our health care system is to serve populations with particular needs. Recently, the valuable role that such pharmacies fill has been eclipsed . . .