Does diet affect surgical performance?

Natalia Leva, BS, Aarthy Kannappan, MD, Dylan Gwaltney, BS, James Lau, MD, Nayna Lodhia, BS, John Morton, MD, MPH

Stanford University

Background: In the hope of increasing patient safety, there is increasing emphasis for physician wellness including appropriate sleep, diet, and exercise. While work rules have addressed sleep, there are little data regarding the impact of diet upon medical care.

Methods: 25 first year medical students from a single academic institution were recruited for surgical skills training. Students were asked to watch a short video on the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) Peg Transfer Task (PTT), to perform the task and then receive scripted feedback from a surgeon. Students then ate lunch of their choice under video surveillance and were asked to repeat the PTT and the three-factor eating questionnaire (TFEQ-R18). The TFEQ-R18 is an 18 question inventory that measures aspects of eating behavior. Student demographics, simulation times, errors, and food consumption were compared.

Results: 12 males and 13 females were enrolled in this study, with an average age of 25 years and body mass index (BMI) of 22 kg/m2. Students who drank soda versus water (n=7 vs n=12) were significantly younger (22.1 vs 24.3 years, p<0.01) and were significantly less likely to take and eat apple slices (1.4 vs 4.7 slices, p=0.03). These students were also significantly less likely to have calories and total sugars from fruit (p=0.03). Students who drank soda at lunch had significantly worse posttest FLS times (186 vs 124 seconds, p<0.05) and demonstrated significantly worse TFEQ-18 cognitive restraint scores (48.4 vs 60.2, p=0.02).

Conclusions: This is the first study of its kind demonstrating that diet, specifically soda consumption, worsens FLS performance.

Session: Poster Presentation

Program Number: P135

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