Research into many kinds of hospital care has found disparities in the morbidity and mortality outcomes for patients who seek treatment during the week compared with those unfortunate enough to get sick on weekends. This “weekend effect” has been demonstrated in hospital treatment of pulmonary embolism, gastrointestinal bleeding, diverticulitis and more.
Now a study of nearly 90,000 U.S. hospitalizations for atrial fibrillation has found another gap in weekend care. About 20% of the irregular heart-rhythm patients studied were hospitalized over the weekend, and 1.1% of these patients died. That is compared with 0.9% of the patients admitted during the week. After adjusting for hospital and patient characteristics and patient comorbidities, the weekend patients had a 24% higher chance of dying compared with weekday patients.
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