Safe surgery requires high-quality, reliable lighting of the surgical field. Little is reported on the quality or potential safety impact of surgical lighting in low-resource settings, where power failures are common and equipment and resources are limited.Members of the Lifebox Foundation created a novel, non-mandatory, 18-item survey tool using an iterative process. This was distributed to surgical providers practicing in low-resource settings through surgical societies and mailing lists.We received 100 complete responses, representing a range of surgical centres from 39 countries. Poor-quality surgical field lighting was reported by 40% of respondents, with 32% reporting delayed or cancelled operations due to poor lighting and 48% reporting electrical power failures at least once per week. Eighty per cent reported the quality of their surgical lighting presents a patient safety risk with 18% having direct experience of poor-quality lighting leading to negative patient outcomes. When power outages occur, 58% of surgeons rely on a backup generator and 29% operate by mobile phone light. Only 9% of respondents regularly use a surgical headlight, with the most common barriers reported as unaffordability and poor in-country suppliers.In our survey of surgeons working in low-resource settings, a majority report poor surgical lighting as a major risk to patient safety and nearly one-third report delayed or cancelled operations due to poor lighting. Developing and distributing robust, affordable, high-quality surgical headlights could provide an ideal solution to this significant surgical safety issue.
View details for PubMedID 29051968