Analysis of technical surgical errors during initial experience of laparoscopic pyloromyotomy by a group of Dutch pediatric surgeons

B. Tang, G. B. Hanna, N. M.A. Bax, A. Cuschieri

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The adoption of laparoscopic pyloromyotomy (LPM) by pediatric surgeons has been limited due to concerns about long execution times and higher-than-expected morbidity. The aim of the present study was to examine the performance of LPM by pediatric surgeons during the initial stages of their experience. Methods: Complete videotapes of 50 early LPM performed in one hospital were subjected to Observational Clinical Human Reliability Analysis (OCHRA) by an independent team. Results: This series had a total morbidity of 6% (one intraoperative bleed, one gastric perforation, one incomplete pyloromyotomy). Using OCHRA, we identified 77 consequential and 233 inconsequential errors (mean of 6 ± 5.4 per operation, 16.7% total error probability) during an average operative time of 29.8 min. Eighty percent of the errors were of the execution type. A high probability of error was observed with the use of the following key instruments: holding graspers (68%), retractable blade (79%), and splitting forceps (77%). The OCHRA system confirmed that task III was the hazard zone for LPM. Excessive force (task III) resulted in gastric perforation and bleeding from the pyloric mass. Movement in the wrong direction and misorientation in tissue planes were the external error modes underlying misaligned cuts of the pyloric mass and poor tissue splitting (task zones II and III). Conclusions: This early series of LPM was associated with an appreciable execution error rate, largely due to the poor functionality of the specific instruments used for the procedure. Human factors identified by the external error modes played a subsidiary but important role, underscoring the importance of skills training and experience (proficiency-gain curve).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1720
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical endoscopy and other interventional techniques
Issue number12
Early online date26 Oct 2004
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • Errors
  • External error modes
  • Laparoscopic instruments
  • Laparoscopic pyloromyotomy
  • Observational Clinical Human Reliability Analysis (OCHRA)
  • Proficiency-gain curve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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