Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Patients Less Likely to Survive In-Hospital Cardiac Arrests on Nights, Weekends

Cardiac arrest during the night or on weekends places hospital patients at higher risk for death and complications, a JAMA article reports.

Using national registry data on nearly 87,000 adult cardiac arrests occurring between 2000 and 2007, researchers characterized the events by time-of-day and day-of-week. When compared with arrests that occurred during the day or evening hours, nighttime events (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) showed significantly lower rates of survival to discharge, return of spontaneous circulation for more than 20 minutes, survival at 24 hours, and favorable neurologic outcome.

Rates on weekends were similar to those on weekday nights.

The authors write that, in searching for causes, "it is reasonable to focus on the potential for decreased physical and psychological performance on the part of the health care worker, different staffing patterns, and less patient surveillance during nights and weekends."

JAMA article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)

Associated Press story (Free)

Related Journal Watch link(s):

Journal Watch Cardiology summary (Free)

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