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Observational Study
, 103 (11), 1557-65

Retrospective Analysis of 30-day Mortality for Emergency General Surgery Admissions Evaluating the Weekend Effect

Observational Study

Retrospective Analysis of 30-day Mortality for Emergency General Surgery Admissions Evaluating the Weekend Effect

I J D McCallum et al. Br J Surg.


Background: The weekend effect describes excess mortality associated with hospital admission on Saturday or Sunday. This study assessed whether a weekend effect exists for patients admitted for emergency general surgery.

Methods: Data for emergency general surgical admissions to National Health Service hospitals in the Northern Deanery in England between 2000 and 2014 were collected, including demographics, co-morbidities, diagnoses, operations undertaken and outcomes. The primary outcome of interest was in-hospital death within 30 days of admission. Cox regression analysis was undertaken with adjustment for co-variables.

Results: There were 12 100 in-hospital deaths within 30 days of admission (3·3 per cent). The overall 30-day mortality rate reduced significantly during the 15-year interval studied, from 5·4 per cent (2000-2004) to 4·0 per cent (2005-2009) and 2·9 per cent during 2010-2014 (P < 0·001). There was no significant mortality difference for patients admitted at the weekend in adjusted Cox models (hazard ratio (HR) 1·00 for Saturday and 0·90 for Sunday, versus Wednesday). There was a significantly higher mortality for operations undertaken at the weekend (HR 1·15 for Saturday and 1·40 for Sunday; P = 0·021 and P < 0·001 respectively). The significantly increased mortality that was evident for emergency surgery at the weekend compared with weekdays in 2000-2004 (HR 1·46 for Saturday and 1·55 for Sunday; both P < 0·001); had reduced by 2010-2014, when the adjusted mortality risk was not significant (HR 1·18 for Saturday and 1·12 for Sunday).

Conclusion: During the past 15 years there has been a weekend effect in patients undergoing emergency general surgery based on day of operation, but not day of admission. Overall mortality for emergency general surgery has improved significantly, and in the past 5 years the increased mortality risk of weekend surgery has reduced.

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