HealthDay News — Following elective surgery, the odds of mortality rise in a graded manner as the day of the week of surgery approaches the weekend, according to research published in the February issue of Medical Care.

Stephen A. Smith, MD, from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the correlation between weekend surgical care and postoperative mortality. Data included results from 10 elective surgery studies with more than 6,685,970 patients, and 19 urgent/emergent surgery studies with more than 1,424,316 patients.

The researchers found that the pooled odds of mortality following elective surgery increased in a graded manner as the day of the week got closer to the weekend (Monday odds ratio [OR]: 1 [reference]; Tuesday OR: 1.04 [95% CI, 0.97-1.11]; Wednesday OR: 1.08 [95% CI, 0.98-1.19]; Thursday OR: 1.12 [95% CI, 1.03-1.22]; and Friday OR: 1.24 [95% CI, 1.10-1.38]). Patients who had urgent/emergent surgery after admission on the weekend had higher mortality than those with admission on weekdays (OR: 1.27 [95% CI, 1.08-1.49]).

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“Postoperative mortality rises as the day of the week of elective surgery approaches the weekend, and is higher after admission for urgent/emergent surgery on the weekend compared with weekdays,” the authors write. “Future research should focus on clarifying underlying causes of this association and potentially mitigating its impact.”


Smith SA, Tamamoto JM, Roberts DJ, et al. Weekend surgical care and postoperative mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Medical Care. 2018;56(2):121-129