Discharging heart patients on weekends not linked to higher readmission rates, study finds

Discharging a cardiac surgery patient on a weekend or holiday does not affect hospital readmission rates, according to a study published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Here are three things to know:

1. For the study, researchers used the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' registry to identify 4,877 adults patients who underwent an elective cardiac operation Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles between 2008-16. Researchers excluded emergency, transplant and mechanical assist patients from their analysis.

2. Twenty percent of the 4,877 patients were discharged on a weekend or holiday. The overall readmission rate was 11.3 percent. The hospital discharged more patients to other facilities on weekdays (15 percent) than on weekends (5.7 percent).

3. Researchers found cardiac surgical patients discharged on the weekend and holidays did not have significantly higher readmission rates. The readmission rate for cardiac surgery patients discharged on a weekday was 11.4 percent, compared to 10.9 percent for patients discharged on a weekend.

"Cardiac surgical patients in the weekend and holiday discharge cohort did not have significantly higher odds of readmission regardless of operative type and discharge disposition," the researchers concluded. "Allocation of resources to changing weekend staffing may be better allocated to surgical site infection prevention and outpatient intervention programs."

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