A University of Iowa study aims to shoot down a rumor that if you’re admitted to a hospital on a weekend, you’re more likely to die. The risks are actually quite low, according to Dr. Peter Cram, a U-of-I professor of internal medicine and the study’s lead author.Dr. Cram says the study found that patients admitted on the weekend were three-percent more likely to die during their hospital stay than patients admitted on a weekday. Prior studies reported the “weekend effect” risk to be ten-percent or higher. The Iowa study analyzed data from 1998 taken from more than 440 California hospitals and more than 640-thousand patients. Cram explains why the study was done.A study done in Canada found there appeared to be a significantly higher mortality rate for weekend admissions and Cram says they wanted to duplicate that study for patients in the U.S. Cram has found the “weekend effect” to be much smaller than previously estimated.The Canadian study found patients with certain conditions, about 25 of 100 conditions studied, were more likely to die if admitted on the weekend. The U-of-I study found the numbers were more like three conditions out of 50 that saw a higher risk of death. Cram says he hopes the results of the U-of-I study are seen as something of a relief to people who might be taken into an emergency room.The study appears in the August 1 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
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