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Perfusion. 2011 Sep;26(5):375-80. doi: 10.1177/0267659111409969. Epub 2011 May 18.

2010 Survey on cell phone use while performing cardiopulmonary bypass.

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SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, USA.


Cell phone use in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past decade and text messaging among adults is now mainstream. In professions such as perfusion, where clinical vigilance is essential to patient care, the potential distraction of cell phones may be especially problematic. However, the extent of this as an issue is currently unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to (1) determine the frequency of cell phone use in the perfusion community, and (2) to identify concerns and opinions among perfusionists regarding cell phone use. In October 2010, a link to a 19-question survey ( was posted on the AmSECT (PerfList) and (PerfMail) forums. There were 439 respondents. Demographic distribution is as follows; Chief Perfusionist (30.5%), Staff Perfusionist (62.0%), and Other (7.5%), with age ranges of 20-30 years (14.2%), 30-40 years (26.5%), 40-50 years (26.7%), 50-60 years (26.7%), >60 years (5.9%). The use of a cell phone during the performance of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) was reported by 55.6% of perfusionists. Sending text messages while performing CPB was acknowledged by 49.2%, with clear generational differences detected when cross-referenced with age groups. For smart phone features, perfusionists report having accessed e-mail (21%), used the internet (15.1%), or have checked/posted on social networking sites (3.1%) while performing CPB. Safety concerns were expressed by 78.3% who believe that cell phones can introduce a potentially significant safety risk to patients. Speaking on a cell phone and text messaging during CPB are regarded as "always an unsafe practice" by 42.3% and 51.7% of respondents, respectively. Personal distraction by cell phone use that negatively affected performance was admitted by 7.3%, whereas witnessing another perfusionist distracted with phone/text while on CPB was acknowledged by 33.7% of respondents. This survey suggests that the majority of perfusionists believe cell phones raise significant safety issues while operating the heart-lung machine. However, the majority also have used a cell phone while performing this activity. There are clear generational differences in opinions on the role and/or appropriateness of cell phones during bypass. There is a need to further study this issue and, perhaps, to establish consensus on the use of various communication modes within the perfusion community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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