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Jan 20, 2015

Physician Sleep Deprivation Has No Significant Effect on Angioplasty Outcomes

According to a new study, patients undergoing angioplasty performed by a sleep-deprived doctor fared about the same as those whose doctor was rested.

Patients who had angioplasty performed by a sleep-deprived physician fared about the same as those whose procedure was done by a rested physician, according to a study in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. Researchers found no significant differences in patient mortality between angioplasty completed by the two groups of physicians.  

Using data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry’s (NCDR) CathPCI Registry, researchers assessed more than 1.5 million procedures performed between 7 a.m. and midnight by more than 5,000 physicians during a three-year period from 2009 through 2012. Physicians were considered acutely sleep-deprived if they began a middle-of-the-night angioplasty between midnight and 6:59 a.m. and performed a next-day procedure between 7 a.m. and midnight. Researchers defined physicians as chronically sleep-deprived if they had performed multiple middle-of-the-night procedures during the previous seven days. 

Only a small number of daytime procedures—2.4%—were performed by physicians who had conducted at least one angioplasty in the middle of the night. That comes down to about one in 40 procedures. Angioplasty performed under those conditions was not elective, suggesting that physicians opted to defer if at all possible.    

The only difference found in performance was among physicians with chronic sleep deprivation. Researchers found a significantly greater adjusted risk of bleeding—about a 20% increase—in the small number of procedures performed by this group.
Read the full study in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions

Questions for You to Consider

  • What is angioplasty?
  • Angioplasty (also called percutaneous coronary intervention) is often recommended for patients diagnosed with diseased arteries of the heart (coronary arteries) or for patients suffering a heart attack. Angioplasty includes a variety of procedures developed to compress fat and cholesterol build-up in the arteries, known as plaque deposits, to help increase the size of narrowed or blocked arteries and improve blood and oxygen flow to the heart.
  • Why is angioplasty done?
  • Angioplasty is used to open narrowed or closed arteries that lead to the heart. Angioplasty is most commonly used to treat heart attack or to help prevent a heart attack in patients with plaque build-up.


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