Science and Tech


Weekend Surgeries Mean More Complications, Study Says

A study out of Berlin shows mortality rates for hospital patients is higher for those who have weekend or afternoon surgery.
Posted at 2:02 PM, Jun 01, 2014

If you're planning on getting surgery soon, a new study says you really might want to choose the day carefuly. 

Conducted by researchers at University Medicine Berlin, the results show patients are more likely to face complications following weekend or afternoon surgeries. Risk of post-surgical death on the weekend rose 22 percent and 21 percent in the afternoons. (Via Wikimedia Commons / DamonSacks

According to the study's news release, researchers analyzed data from more than 200,000 patients from 2006 to 2011. Aside from higher risks on the weekends and afternoons, they found February to be the riskiest month to have surgery, with a 16 percent higher chance of death. (Via EurekAlert!)

In a statement, the authors explained, "it may be that standard of care differs throughout the day and between weekdays and weekends. Although we controlled for risk factors including emergency surgery in our study, it may very well be that the patients treated in the afternoon and on the weekends were more severely ill." 

There have been a number of similar studies conducted over the years — including one from Japan, with similar results that was presented at the same conference as the University Medicine Berlin study. (Via HealthDay, Medpage Today, The Guardian

But Medical Daily points out, this is "the first time, investigators have shown the same cyclic differences for post-surgical deaths." 

According to the authors, the findings highlight the need for greater emphasis on patient safety. However, the study's authors did say more research is needed.