Surgical ‘Safari’ vs. Educational Program: Experience with International Cardiac Surgery Missions in Nigeria - A Rejoinder


Braz. J. Cardiovasc. Surg.




Abstract Introduction: Over the past few years, we have seen some signs of change in mental health among cardiovascular surgeons. Suicide cases, troubled professional relationships, separations, and treatment of depression and anxiety are common occurrences in this group of surgeons. With this in mind, we decided to perform an analysis of the mental health of Brazilian cardiovascular surgeons. Methods: This is a cross-sectional qualitative study. Thirty-seven validated questionnaires (from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition) were collected at the 46th Congress of the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Cardiovascular, in April 2019. It was authorized by the Faculdade da Saúde e Ecologia Humana Ethics Committee (CAAE-09479519.7.0000.5101). The questionnaires were analyzed by a psychiatrist who grouped the individuals with signs suggestive of some mental disorder. Results: The questions that pointed out signs and symptoms of possible anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug abuse, and burnout were selected in the questionnaire. Seventeen individuals (45.95%) did not score for any disorder. Twenty individuals (54.05%) in our sample had one or more disorders, with 43.24% (16 individuals) showing signs or symptoms compatible with anxiety - the World Health Organization data for Brazil show a 9.3% incidence of anxiety in the general population. We found signs of depression in 21.62% of our sample (5.8% in the general population), of alcohol or drug abuse in 27.03% (19.4% in the general population), and of burnout in 40.54% (32% in the general population). Conclusion: Mental disorders are present in most cardiovascular surgeons studied.

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