New research confirms that the weekend is the worst time to have surgery at a hospital — as well as after noon and, inexplicably, in February.
A new study presented by German researchers at a meeting of European anesthesiologists shows that the risk of death for patients following surgery rises significantly between Friday night and Monday morning, in the afternoons, and in the month of February.
The findings, reported by lead researchers Felix Kork, M.D., and Claudia Spies of the University Medicine Berlin, are based on an analysis of the medical records of 218,758 patients who underwent surgery between 2006 and 2011 at two Berlin hospitals.
Hospital death records showed weekend surgeries were associated with a 22 percent increased risk of death, compared with those conducted on weekdays.
Afternoon surgeries were linked with a 21 percent higher death risk, compared with procedures done at other times of day.
February was the highest risk month for surgery, with procedures associated with a 16 percent increased risk of death compared to other months.
The researchers are continuing to study the possible reasons behind the variations, but suspect differences in the quality of care is to blame for the results.
“Several factors may have influenced this outcome. For example, it may be that standard of care differs throughout the day and between weekdays and weekends,” the researchers suggested.
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