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H. Ahmad, R. Pointdujour, M. Liu, E. F. Smith, D. R. Lazzaro; The Effect of Caffeine and Beta Blockade on Surgical Performance Using the EYESi VRMagic Anti-Tremor, Forceps and Capsulorhexis Surgical Simulator Modules in Experienced v. Novice Surgeons. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5439.
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To assess the effect of caffeine and beta blockade on surgical perfomance using EYESi VRMagic Anti-Tremor, Forceps and Capsulorhexis Surgical Simulator Modules.
18 participants (6 students, 6 residents, and 6 attendings) were randomized to a 3-day sequence administration of placebo, caffeine (200mg) and beta-blocker (propranolol 10mg). Each participant completed all 3 modules each day.
Overall scores of faculty (p=0.01) and residents (p=0.0015) were higher than students, and there was no learning curve for the 3 day study (Figure 1). Caffeine’s effect on surgical performance was not statistically significant (Figure 2). However, scores for all groups combined on beta blocker were significantly higher than on placebo and caffeine (p=0.0024) although the effect of beta blockers on average tremor was not significant. Moreover, when the overall scores were separated for attendings, residents, and students, the effect of beta blockers was only statistically significant for residents and students (p=0.0237 and p=0.0392).
Contrary to popular belief, our study provides evidence that caffeine does not have a significant effect on surgical performance. However, beta blockers improve scores for residents and students. As a result, we propose that beta blockers are beneficial for the novice surgeon. The limit of its benefits may be surpassed by the increased surgical experience of attendings.
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