Weekday Admission to the Hospital May be Safer

Weekend hospital admission associated with increased risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) People don't always know when they will face an emergency and end up in the hospital. Unfortunately, the timing of hospital admission may affect the quality of care a patient receives.

A recent review of research found that weekend hospital admission was tied to a higher risk of death than weekday hospital admission.

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The lead author of this review was Hiroshi Hoshijima, DMD, PhD, from the Division of Dent-oral Anesthesiology at Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry in Sendai, Japan.

The review included 72 previously published studies comparing the death rate of patients who were admitted to the hospital on a weekday versus a weekend.

There were a total of 55,053,719 study participants.

The researchers split up the patients into six categories according to reason for hospital admission:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Medical disease
  • Mixed medical and surgical disease
  • Received operation

The findings showed that weekend admission to the hospital was linked to an increased death rate of 15 to 17 percent compared to weekday admission.

The researchers discovered that the patients in all categories of hospital admission who were admitted on the weekend, except for those admitted for a planned operation, were at higher risk for death compared to the patients who were admitted on a weekday.

Dr. Hoshijima and team offered a couple explanations for their findings. First, they believe that the increased risk of death on the weekends is indicative of lower quality care on the weekends. Second, there’s a possibility that patients admitted to the hospital on a weekend might be more severely ill than those admitted on a weekday.

The researchers also noted that the lack of association between receiving a planned operation on the weekend and death might be because they reviewed only a few studies on that relationship.

Furthermore, these researchers suggested that some patients who underwent certain high-risk procedures may have received much of their post-operative care in critical care units that most likely provide the same type of service at all times during both weekdays and weekends. This level of care would therefore weaken any association of increased risk of death during the weekend in the post-operative patients.

This review was presented on May 31 at Euroanaesthesia 2014.

Review Date: 
June 3, 2014
Last Updated:
June 3, 2014