Pediatric mortality no higher for weekend, night admissions

New U.K. study calls into question the "weekend effect"
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New research into emergency pediatric treatment finds children admitted into intensive care units on the weekend or at night are no more likely to die than those admitted during peak staffing periods. The study conflicted with 2010 research finding a 10 percent higher mortality rate in United Kingdom hospitals for children admitted on weekends.

That same year the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported similar findings, including the startling statistic that about 2.4 percent of patients admitted on a weekend died in the hospital, compared with 1.8 percent of patients admitted on a weekday.

But the new U.K. study by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, published online last week by the Journal of Pediatrics, found no difference in pediatric mortality for admissions on weekends, at night or during regular hours.

Where it did find a difference was for winter admissions, with deaths rising 13 percent from November through January, according to Medical News TodayThe researchers questioned whether the higher number of admissions due to respiratory viruses in winter might be straining pediatric ICU resources and staff, according to the article.

The U.K. research seems to support research published in 2011 by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine finding lower mortality rates for trauma patients admitted at night or on the weekend.

Trauma patients admitted during weekends of nights stayed in the intensive care unit longer, but the researchers said that could be a result of greater weekend bed availability.

To learn more:
- here's the study (.pdf)
- check out the study abstract
- read the Medical News Today article

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