Of the 8 million patients who were admitted to U.S. hospitals on weekends in 2007, approximately one-third received needed major procedures on the day of admission, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In comparison, patients who were admitted on weekdays received 65 percent of all major procedures on their first day in the hospital.
For example, patients who were admitted on weekends were nearly three times more likely to be there due to emergencies, such as heart attack, stomach bleeding, fractures or internal injuries than patients hospitalized on a weekday (28 percent versus 11 percent ). In addition, 65 percent of patients admitted on a weekend were initially seen in hospital emergency departments, compared with 44 percent of weekday-admitted patients.
The federal agency's analysis also found that:
•Nearly 7 of every 10 patients hospitalized on a weekend were admitted through the emergency department, compared with roughly 4 in 10 patients admitted during a weekday.
•Sixty-four percent of heart attack patients admitted on a weekend had a major cardiac procedure, such as angioplasty or heart bypass surgery, performed by the second day of their hospitalization, compared with 76 percent of heart attack patients admitted on a weekday. A smaller share of weekend than weekday admissions received treatment on the day of admission for back surgery (35 percent versus 90 percent); angina (37 percent versus 23 percent); gallbladder removal (23 percent versus 32 percent); and hernia repair (54 percent versus 68 percent).
•Weekday admissions were often planned in advance. For example, 99 percent of admissions for osteoarthritis and 93 percent of those for back problems occurred on weekdays.
•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.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality