Studies: Hospital stroke deaths rise on weekends

Two new research studies have found that if a stroke patient enters the hospital at night or on the weekend, they're more likely to die in a hospital than those who arrive during standard business hours. In one study researchers found that the mortality rate for all stroke admissions during weekdays was 7.9 percent, versus 10.1 percent on weekends. For ischemic stroke, mortality rates were 7.3 percent on weekdays, compared with 8.2 percent for nights and weekends. To draw these conclusions, the researchers analyzed more than 2.4 million stroke cases across the U.S. However, researchers also noted that the study had already ended in 2004, prior to major changes in the treatment of strokes in U.S. hospitals. The changes include more hospitals being designated as "Primary Stroke Centers" and stocked with clot-busting drug tPA.

The other study looked at data on 308,545 stroke admissions between October 2001 and April 2007 generated by an American Heart Association quality improvement program. In this data, patients hospitalized for ischemic stroke during off-hours had an in-hospital mortality rate of 5.8 percent, compared with 5.2 percent for regular hours. For hemorrhagic stroke, mortality rates were 27.2 percent for nights and weekends, and 24.1 percent for weekday arrivals.

To learn more about these studies:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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