Avoid hospitals on weekends
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. Several studies have shown that patients admitted to hospital on a weekend tend to have a poorer outcome. In 2007 William Kostis and colleagues reported that patients admitted to hospital on a weekend with a heart attack (myocardial infarction) were less likely to be treated promptly with the appropriate invasive procedure and, as a result, experienced significantly higher mortality. The average mortality on the day following admission on weekends was 3.3% vs. 2.7% if admitted during the week.[1]

Now medical doctors associated with the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System report that the outcome for patients admitted on a weekend (Friday night to Sunday night) with atrial fibrillation (AF) is significantly poorer than for AF patients admitted during the week. Their study included 86,497 patients who had been diagnosed from a US hospital during 2008 (data obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2008 database). They observed that the use of cardioversion was far less common on weekends than on weekdays (7.9% vs. 16.2%) and was often delayed. Also, after adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics and comorbid disease severity, the odds of an AF patient dying in the hospital if admitted on a weekend was 24% (relative) higher than if admitted on a weekday (1.1% vs. 0.9%). The mortality rate among black Americans admitted with AF was 50% (relative) higher than that observed for white patients. NOTE: It is estimated that there were 425,744 hospital admissions in the US for AF during 2008.

Deshmukh, A, et al. Comparison of outcomes of weekend versus weekday admissions for atrial fibrillation. American Journal of Cardiology, April 3, 2012 [Epub ahead of print]
[1] Kostis, WJ, et al. Weekend vs weekday admission and mortality from myocardial infarction. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 356, 2007, pp. 1099-1109