No increase in deaths from cardiac arrests at the weekend, says study

This study follows on from work previous work suggesting that there is a ‘weekend effect’.

James McKay
3 June 2019
Cardiac Arrest AED

No difference in survival for those admitted on the weekend.

People admitted to NHS hospitals with a cardiac arrest over the weekend do not face a higher risk of dying compared to those admitted during the week, according to a new study.


The research led by Dr Rahul Potluri, founder of the ACALM study unit at Aston University, investigated 4,803 patients admitted to hospital with a cardiac arrest.

The team looked at five-year survival for people suffering a cardiac arrest and being treated in an NHS hospital. They found that there were no differences in survival for those admitted on the weekend.

This study follows on from work previous work suggesting that there is a ‘weekend effect’ in people going to hospital with heart failure or atrial fibrillation – the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm.

Cardiac arrest teams working 24 hours a day, all year round, could be responsible for the same standard of care and outcome of those suffering a cardiac arrest whether they are being treated in the week or at the weekend.


The same chance of survival.

Dr Rahul Potluri, Clinical Lecturer in Cardiology at Aston Medical School, said: “No matter which day of the week someone goes to hospital with a cardiac arrest, they have the same chance of survival, and that should be hugely reassuring to the public.

“By no means is the weekend effect a blanket phenomenon. We know that it does exist for people affected by other heart conditions. It’s therefore important to tease out who is affected by the weekend effect through research in order to ensure that specialist healthcare services are delivered when and where they are needed most.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said:  “This is a success story, and shows the life saving importance of specialist teams working in the NHS. A cardiac arrest is a medical emergency and statistics show that for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by around 10 per cent.

“If you see someone who has suddenly collapsed and is unresponsive, it is vital that you call 999 and start administering CPR immediately to increase their chances of survival. When the emergency services arrive, you can rest assured that you’ve done your bit and the specialists are ready and waiting to take over.”


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