Balance Performance of Post-Call Medical Residents.
Fatigue is thought of as a leading cause of iatrogenic accidents. A significant deterioration in qualitative balance function has been shown in sleep deprived individuals.To quantify the degree to which balance is impaired by sleep deprivation (SD) in post-call medical residents.Medical residents voluntarily underwent computed dynamic posturography (CDP) before and after an on-call night, at an identical time of the day. Order of test performance was random to avoid behavioral learning. Each participant served as his or her own control.Seventeen residents were enrolled (median age 32years). Average sleeping duration the night before and during the night shift was 6.5 and 1 hour, respectively. The average response times difference between alert and fatigued was 10.15 milliseconds (95% CI: 6.81-13.49 milliseconds), yielding a significantly prolonged response times from 120 milliseconds before to 130 milliseconds after the night shift (P < .001). Comparison of additional measurements of CDP performance did not differ between test conditions.Medical residents are fatigued due to the effect of on-call nights. Sleep deprivation prolongs response times to vestibular stimuli. This finding probably has an effect on execution of manual skills and may reflect a more generalized slowing of responses and overall performance impairment.The vestibular system is susceptible to SD.