Stroke death rate rises on weekends

From Times wire reports

If you have a stroke, try to have it between Monday and Friday. A Canadian study released Thursday found that patients hospitalized for the most common kind of stroke on weekends had a higher death rate than those admitted on weekdays.

The “weekend effect” has been identified before in other conditions such as cancer and pulmonary embolism. But this is the first major study to look at it in relation to ischemic stroke, which is caused by a clot that blocks blood flow in an artery in or leading to the brain.

The study, published in the American Heart Assn. journal Stroke, looked at all ischemic stroke hospital admissions in Canada from April 2003 to March 2004. It found that about a quarter of the 26,676 patients admitted to 606 hospitals over that time period were brought in on Saturdays and Sundays.

After adjustments for age, gender and other medical complications, patients admitted on the weekend had a 14% higher risk of dying within seven days than patients admitted during the week.