New findings from Japanese researchers might have you hoping you don’t require a serious hospital visit on the weekend.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A review of worldwide hospital data by a team at Tohoku University determined that there was a higher mortality rate of patients admitted to the hospital over the weekend compared to those admitted Monday through Friday.

Previous research, which came to a similar conclusion, said the higher likelihood of death on the weekend was “worrying.”

With the outcomes of 72 studies that included more than 55 million participants, those brought in on a weekend had a 15- to 17-percent increased mortality rate.

“There are at least two potential explanations for our results. First, these differences reflect poorer quality of care in hospital at the weekend, and second, patients admitted on at weekend could be more severely ill than those admitted on at weekday. We believe that poorer care at the weekends is the much more likely explanation,” the authors said.

Other studies conducted on a smaller scale reported fewer staff members and specialist availability as reasons for a higher death rate on weekends. The U.K.’s Independent noted a similar study that found higher mortality rates for operations conducted in the afternoon as well.

“It is speculation, but in the afternoon it may be that the surgeries are more likely to be urgent than in the morning, although we tried to control for that factor,” Dr. Felix Kork of Charite told the Independent. ”It may also be that the human immune system reacts differently at different times of the day, but there is not a lot of data supporting that theory.”

The U.K.’s National Health Service acknowledged the issue of weekend mortality rates and is making plans to have more senior doctors available on the weekend.

The research from Tohoku University was presented at the Euroanaesthesia meeting in Stockholm.

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