MONDAY, July 9, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke patients admitted to the hospital on weekends are less likely to receive vital treatments and more likely to have worse outcomes, according to a new study.
Researchers examined data from more than 93,000 stroke patients in the United Kingdom, who were admitted to public hospitals between April 2009 and March 2010.
Those admitted on weekends were less likely to undergo five of six diagnostic/treatment measures compared to those admitted on weekdays, according to the report published online July 9 in the journal Archives of Neurology.
One of the largest differences was in rates of brain scans on the day of admission -- 43 percent on weekends compared with over 47 percent on weekdays, the investigators found.
The researchers also found that the average seven-day, in-hospital death rate for patients admitted on Sundays was 11 percent, compared with just under 9 percent for patients admitted on weekdays.
"We calculated that approximately 350 potentially avoidable in-hospital deaths occur within seven days each year and that an additional 650 people could be discharged to their usual place of residence within 56 days if the performance seen on weekdays was replicated on weekends," study author William Palmer, of Imperial College London, and colleagues explained in a journal news release.
Some previous studies in other countries also reported higher death rates among patients with a number of medical conditions who are admitted to hospitals on weekends.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about stroke.