Comprehensive Stroke Centers Overcome the Weekend Versus Weekday Gap in Stroke Treatment and Mortality
Background and Purpose—Hospital staffing may be reduced on weekends. Prior studies of weekend disparities in stroke care have focused on in-hospital mortality with variable results. We hypothesized that 90-day mortality was higher in patients with stroke hospitalized on weekends versus weekdays, and this difference has been minimized over time by improvements in organization and delivery of stroke care.
Methods—We used the Myocardial Infarction Data Acquisition System administrative database, which includes data on patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of cerebral infarction from all nonfederal acute care hospitals in New Jersey between 1996 and 2007. Out-of-hospital deaths were assessed by matching MIDAS records with New Jersey death registration files. New Jersey hospitals are designated by the state as comprehensive stroke centers, primary stroke centers, or nonstroke centers. The primary outcome measure was 90-day all-cause mortality after hospital admission.
Results—A total of 134 441 patients were admitted with a primary diagnosis of cerebral infarction during the study period. A total of 23.4% were admitted to a comprehensive stroke center, 51.5% to a primary stroke center, and 25.1% to a nonstroke center. Ninety-day mortality was greater in patients with stroke admitted on weekends compared with weekdays (17.2% versus 16.5%; P=0.002). The adjusted risk of death at 90 days was significantly greater for weekend admission (hazard ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.09). No difference in 90-day mortality was observed for patients admitted to comprehensive stroke centers on weekends versus weekdays (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.95 to 1.08).
Conclusions—Patients with stroke admitted on weekends to New Jersey hospitals had a significantly higher risk of death by 90 days. No such difference in mortality was observed at comprehensive stroke centers.
- Received December 23, 2010.
- Revision received March 4, 2011.
- Accepted March 7, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.