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Higher Death Rate For Heart Attacks At Nights And Weekends

Update Date: Jan 22, 2014 10:31 AM EST

Heart attack patients who are rushed to hospitals at night and weekends have higher mortality rate than those admitted in usual working hours, a new study has found. 

Researchers said the mortality is higher because the emergency treatment takes longer during nights or at weekends compared with regular hours. 

In the study, 1,896,859 patients from 48 different studies were analyzed to assess the effects of off-hour presentation among heart attack patients. 

They found that patients who were admitted in the off-hours had a 5 percent relative increase in mortality compared to those who were admitted in regular hours. This also resulted an extra 6,000 deaths every year in the U.S. alone. 

Hospitals have been advised to speed up their "door to ballon times" - the time from when a heart attack patient arrives to when a balloon is inflated in a blocked artery during angioplasty. 

Researchers in their study suggested that hospitals should focus on improving their off-hour care and aim to provide consistently a high-quality care at any time of the day. 

"We know hospitals have fewer staff and resources during off hours," said study co-author Atsushi Sorita, a senior fellow in preventive medicine and public health at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, according to USA Today. "They need to think about the system and provide care that is consistent 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The study also found that off-hours death gap in the previous years had also not improved. 

"The differences in mortality seem to be increasing," said Sorita. "That seems surprising."

"The best course of action remains to call an ambulance immediately, regardless of time," he added.

The study has been published in the British Medical Journal

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