March 14, 2023

Caffeine: benefits and drawbacks for technical performance

D Parry et al, 2023. Caffeine: benefits and drawbacks for technical performance, Br J Oral Maxillofacial Surgery.


Surgical and minimally-invasive procedures, including cardiac and radiological, have high-stake patient outcomes. Working pressures, altering shift rotas, and ever-increasing demands have led to worsening sleep patterns for surgeons and allied professionals. Sleep deprivation alone has harmful consequences in relation to clinical outcomes and the physical and mental health of the surgeon, and to offset fatigue, some surgeons use legal stimulants such as caffeine and energy drinks. This stimulant use, however, may come at the cost of negative effects on cognitive and physical function. We aimed to explore evidence behind the use of caffeine, and its consequences on technical performance and clinical outcomes.

For your convenience I copy the Conclusion:

Caffeine may have a role in restoring a degree of cognitive function to that of rested levels, but there is little evidence to support its regular use to improve a clinician’s performance. Regular caffeine consumption is concerning due to its long-term effects on the user’s health and wellbeing. Caffeine tolerance may also occur, leading to overall increased consumption, and there is also a risk of withdrawal symptoms. The outcomes of surgical and invasive procedures may suffer, as evidence shows that caffeine quickens surgical tasks but diminishes dexterity, and has no positive impact on error rate.

Caffeine may be perceived as attractive in a competitive environment like surgery where the expectations of patients, health organisations, and “self” are high. Possible risks to the caffeine consumer may add to the already high rates of anxiety, depression, and burnout amongst clinicians,19 so it should not be a replacement for sleep, rest, and recuperation.

Modtag nyhedsbrev

Ja tak, jeg vil gerne modtage nyhedsbrev, når der er noget nyt om kaffe og helbred.