New study debunks the “weekend effect”

A new study debunks the "weekend effect" and the myth that patients who have surgery during a weekend are at a greater risk of dying.

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A new study debunks the “weekend effect” and the myth that patients who have surgery during a weekend are at a greater risk of dying.

The study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, looked at over 50,000 emergency surgeries that took place in Scotland over a three-year period.

It has been claimed that patients who underwent emergency surgery during a weekend had a higher morality rate – known as the “weekend effect”.

But the study tracked overall patients outcomes and demonstrated that, even after adjustment for risk factors, the day a patient undergoes surgery had no effect on either their short or long-term chances of survival.

It was noted that weekend surgeries usually consisted of riskier or more complex procedures that inherently come with bigger risk factors.

Incidentally, the study showed those had surgery over the weekend were likely to have fewer delays in receiving treatment with the average time from admission to operation 1.2 days compared to 1.6 for weekdays.

Dr Michael Gillies, lead author of the study, said; “There was no difference in overall survival after surgery undertaken on any particular day compared with Wednesday; a borderline reduction in perioperative mortality was seen on Tuesday”.