Bronchoscopy and Overuse Injury Among Pulmonologists Studied

   According to researchers at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, New York, while a significant amount of attention has been paid to ergonomics and overuse injury in a medical setting, it has been mainly  as pertains to gastroenterology and surgery. But very little data have been reported on the prevalence of similar injuries among those performing bronchoscopy. The researchers reported the results of their study at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Honolulu.

   Over a three-month period in 2011, Navdeep Brar, MD, and colleagues studied the responses of 132 pulmonologists to an online questionnaire. Of the 132 respondents, 50 (39.1%) reported pain while operating a bronchoscope. Seventy-six percent of these pulmonologists indicated that the pain occurred once or only a few times;  while 22% experienced recurring pain, mainly in the shoulder, back, wrist, neck, and thumb. The pain appeared to be associated with overuse injury and height less than 5’7”. Of those feeling pain, 80% sought no treatment and only 38% attempted to modify their workspace. “Measures may be necessary to prevent musculoskeletal injuries for bronchoscopists,” the researchers concluded.

   In other research, investigators at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, found that emotional distress may impair medical student learning capabilities. They used a mannequin during a simulated medical exercise involving final year medical students to study the impact of the “death” of the “patient” during a procedure. Students (N=116) were randomly assigned to one of two groups, hypothetical death (D) or no death (ND) of the mannequin. Three months later, the students from group D reported being more nervous, upset, sad, and depressed, and they experienced a higher cognitive load than the ND group. According to Dr. Brar and colleagues, the students from group ND were significantly more likely to pass the exam than the students from group D, whose abilities were impaired. “This study demonstrated that emotional distress during simulation increases cognitive load past a point that is optimal for learning,” the investigators concluded.