Stroke Mortality Higher Over the Weekend

'Weekend effect' may be due to limited resources, expertise

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of dying from ischemic stroke is higher over the weekend than during the week, most likely because of limited health care resources, expertise and number of providers available during the weekend, according to a report published online March 8 in Stroke.

Gustavo Saposnik, M.D., of the University of Toronto, Ontario, and colleagues reviewed 26,676 hospital admissions for ischemic stroke occurring from April 2003 to March 2004, using a Canadian national database. They looked at the "weekend effect," which has been documented in other conditions including cancer and pulmonary embolism.

The investigators found that the stroke mortality for weekend admissions was 8.5 percent compared to 7.4 percent mortality for weekday admissions. Multivariate analysis predicted an odds ratio of 1.13 for early stroke mortality on weekend admissions compared with weekday.

"Even in a country with universal health insurance coverage, disparities in resources, expertise, or the number of health care providers working during weekends may be present and may explain the observed differences in weekend mortality between facilities," the authors conclude. "The understanding of factors affecting the processes of care may provide new avenues to implement quality improvement initiatives."

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