Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding

Studies find higher death rates, longer hospital stays and greater costs

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MONDAY, March 2, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- People with gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding admitted to hospitals on weekends are more likely to die than those admitted on weekdays, according to two studies that analyzed U.S. patient data.

The first study found that people with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (NVUGIH) admitted on weekends were 36 percent less likely to have endoscopy within one day of admission and 22 percent more likely to die while hospitalized. There was one additional death for every 143 patients admitted on a weekend.

The researchers also found that people with acute variceal hemorrhage (AVH) admitted to non-teaching hospitals had lower rates of early endoscopy, but not higher death rates, than those admitted to teaching hospitals.

"Although previous studies have demonstrated differences in outcomes between weekend and weekday admissions, there has been limited analysis focusing on patients with GI bleeding, a common medical emergency that carries significant disease and death," the study's lead author, Dr. Ashwin N. Ananthakrishnan, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said in an American Gastroenterological Association news release.

"The most important finding of our study is the higher mortality among NVUGIH patients admitted on weekends," he said. "This finding underscores the need for research into identifying the reasons for the weekend effect and to institute appropriate interventions."

The second study found that people with peptic ulcer-related upper gastrointestinal bleeding admitted to hospitals on the weekend had a higher death rate (3.4 percent vs. 3.0 percent), higher rates of surgical intervention (3.4 percent vs. 3.1 percent), longer hospital stays and higher hospital costs than those admitted on weekdays.

People admitted on weekends had to wait longer for an endoscopy (2.21 days vs. 2.06 days) and were less likely to undergo endoscopy on the day of admission (30 percent vs. 34 percent).

Both studies were published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about GI bleeding.

SOURCE: American Gastroenterological Association, news release, March 1, 2009

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