Video-based ergonomic analysis to evaluate thoracostomy tube placement techniques

F. Jacob Seagull, Colin F. Mackenzie, Yan Xiao, Grant V. Bochicchio, Colin Mackenzie, Grant V. Bochicchio, Ellis Caplan, William Chiu, Richard Dutton, Thomas Genuit, Lynn Gerber-Smith, James Haan, Sharon Henry, Peter Fu Ming Hu, Kerry Kole, James O'Connor, Jennifer Perry, Thomas Scalea, F. Jacob Seagull, Amy SisleyYan Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Thoracostomy for relief of pneumo- or hemothorax may be performed emergently at the bedside, in the emergency department or trauma area, often in nonideal circumstances. We hypothesized that ergonomic analysis of thoracostomy techniques can identify areas for potential improvement in patient and operator safety. Methods: Interviews with Subject Matter Experts (SME) provided steps in the task of thoracostomy; 44 thoracostomies (emergent and elective) were video-recorded and reviewed by SMEs. Ergonomic analyses evaluated surgical performance techniques using video clips. Results: Risks to the patient and operator included instrument-tray positioning and instrument content. Analyses of video records revealed that despite SME-survey consensus, operators inconsistently followed recommended techniques. Conclusions: Discrepancies between SME-recommended and observed practice are prevalent, with simple ergonomic problems impeding performance, and creating risks for patients and operators. Video-based ergonomic analysis is a rich source for identifying task performance problems and potential solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Ergonomics
  • Surgical instruments
  • Video


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