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Weekend ICU Admission Linked to Higher Mortality Risk

But no association found between nighttime admission and risk of death

WEDNESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients admitted to hospital intensive care units (ICUs) on the weekends may have an increased mortality risk, but those admitted at night do not appear to have a higher mortality risk, according to research published in the July issue of Chest.

Rodrigo Cavallazzi, M.D., of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues reviewed the literature looking for an association between ICU admission timing and death. They adjusted for disease severity and hypothesized that patients admitted during off-hours might have a higher risk of death.

Of the 10 studies that met inclusion criteria, eight assessed nighttime admissions and six examined weekend admissions. In a pooled analysis, the researchers found no association between nighttime admission and increased mortality, but found a significant increase in adjusted risk of death for patients admitted on the weekend. The authors further noted significant heterogeneity in the studies that assessed nighttime admissions.

"Whereas patients admitted to an ICU over the weekend appear to be at an increased risk of death, nighttime admissions were not associated with an increased mortality. The lower level of staffing and intensity of care provided by many hospitals over the weekend may account for this finding. The heterogeneity noted between studies evaluating nighttime admissions likely reflects the diverse organizational structure of the hospitals and ICUs where these studies were carried out," the authors write.

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