During the month of November, two studies came across our newsfeed with regard to hospital admission on weekends. Researchers in the first study, Association between weekend hospital presentation and stroke fatality, published in Neurology on November 2nd, included consecutive patients with acute stroke or transient ischemic attack seen in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital. Of these 20,657 patients, stroke fatality was higher (8.1% vs. 7.0%) with weekend compared to weekday admission.
The second study, Weekend Admissions Predict Higher Mortality in Patients with End Stage Renal Disease, was presented at the American Society of Nephrology's Renal Week 2010. In this retrospective study, 19.7% of the 836,550 estimated admissions with end-stage renal disease were admitted on the weekend. Researchers found that those admitted on the weekend had significantly higher mortality (7.6% vs. 6.6%) than those admitted on a weekday.
A literature search on “weekend hospital admissions” revealed a few more similar studies published over the past 2 years. These included research on patients with acute kidney injury, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and heart failure. All the studies concluded with similar results; that is, weekend admission is associated with a higher risk for death compared with admission on a weekday. What are the reasons behind this “weekend phenomena?”