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Stroke Mortality Rate Higher for Weekend Admissions

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 3, 2010

Stroke patients admitted to the hospital on weekends are slightly more likely to die compared to stroke patients admitted on weekdays, regardless of the severity of the stroke, according to a Canadian study published by the American Academy of Neurology.

"We wanted to test whether the severity of strokes on weekends compared to weekdays would account for lower survival rates on the weekends," says Moira K. Kapral, MD, of the University of Toronto in Ontario. Kapral was with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario when the research was done. "Our results suggest that stroke severity is not necessarily the reason for this discrepancy."

Researchers analyzed five years of data from the Canadian Stroke Network on 20,657 patients with acute stroke from 11 stroke centers in Ontario. Only the first stroke a person experienced was included in the study. The study was published in the Nov. 2 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the AAN.

People with moderate to severe stroke were just as likely to be admitted to the hospital on weekends and weekdays, but those with mild stroke were less likely to be admitted on weekends in the study. Those who were seen on weekends were slightly older, more likely to be taken by ambulance and experienced a shorter time from the onset of stroke symptoms to hospital arrival on average, the study shows.

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