A recent study using the National Inpatient Sample database for 2008 found that there was a "weekend effect" for patients admitted with atrial fibrillation. Previously, the "weekend effect" has been seen with stroke, myocardial infarction, gastrointestinal bleeding, and hospitalized patients with a wide variety of conditions. The "weekend effect" is a documented theory that states that patients admitted to hospitals on the weekend will not get the same level of care they would get on the weekdays, which results in higher weekend mortality rates.
In the case of atrial fibrillation, the in hospital mortality rate when admitted on a Saturday or Sunday is 1.1%, while weekday mortality rates are 0.9%. There are a few possible explanations for why the in hospital mortality rate may be higher for weekend admittances than weekday admittances. Patients admitted on the weekend are less likely to undergo cadioversion and have a longer interval from admission to the time of the actual procedure. Hospital staffing also causes an issue because generally hospital staff is reduced as a whole on the weekend, which brings down the number of doctors who are qualified to perform certain procedures.
Patients with any illness, especially those afflicted with atrial fibrillation, should not have to worry about when is the most convenient time to be sick. The same quality of care should be offered to patients whether they arrive at the hospital at 6 am on a Sunday or noon on a Tuesday.
Tags: National Inpatient Sample database, weekend effect, atrial fibrillation, afib, stroke, myocardial infarction, gastrointestinal bleeding, hospitalized patients, mortality rates, in hospital mortality, patients, cardioversion, doctors, hospital staff