Off-hour presentation and outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Intern Med. 2014 Apr;25(4):394-400. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2014.03.012. Epub 2014 Apr 12.


Background: Studies have suggested that patients with acute ischemic stroke who present to the hospital during off-hours (weekends and nights) may or may not have worse clinical outcomes compared to patients who present during regular hours.

Methods: We searched Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus through August 2013, and included any study that evaluated the association between time of patient presentation to a healthcare facility and mortality or modified Rankin Scale in acute ischemic stroke. Quality of studies was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. A random-effect meta-analysis model was applied. Heterogeneity was assessed using the Q statistic and I(2). A priori subgroup analyses were used to explain observed heterogeneity.

Results: A total of 21 cohort studies (23 cohorts) with fair quality enrolling 1,421,914 patients were included. Off-hour presentation for patients with acute ischemic stroke was associated with significantly higher short-term mortality (OR, 1.11, 95% CI 1.06-1.17). Presenting at accredited stroke centers (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.98-1.11) and countries in North America (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01-1.09) were associated with smaller increase in mortality during off-hours. The results were not significantly different between adjusted (OR, 1.11, 95% CI 1.05-1.16) and unadjusted (OR, 1.13, 95% CI 0.95-1.35) outcomes. The proportion of patients with modified Rankin Scale at discharge ≥ 2-3 was higher in patients presenting during off-hours (OR, 1.14, 95% CI 1.06-1.22).

Discussion: The evidence suggests that patients with acute ischemic stroke presenting during off-hours have higher short-term mortality and greater disability at discharge.

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; Meta-analysis; Modified Rankin Scale; Mortality; Off-hours; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome