FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) appear to be at a higher risk of delayed dialysis and mortality when admitted to the hospital over the weekend as opposed to a weekday, according to a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology's Renal Week 2010, held from Nov. 16 to 21 in Denver.
In a retrospective study, Ankit Sakhuja, M.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues compared in-hospital mortality rates and use of hemodialysis for ESRD patients, at least 18 years of age, hospitalized on weekends versus weekdays.
Of the 836,550 estimated ESRD admissions, the investigators found that 19.7 percent were admitted on a weekend. Compared to patients admitted on a weekday, patients admitted on a weekend had significantly higher mortality (7.6 versus 6.6 percent), even after adjustment for age, gender, race, hospital characteristics, and comorbidities (odds ratio, 1.17). In addition, the time to dialysis was 0.29 days longer among patients admitted on the weekend.
"The restricted dialysis services on weekends may result in delayed care of the fluid and electrolyte imbalances, which can result in higher mortality," Sakhuja said in a statement. "Our study stresses the need to redesign hospital staffing models to assure improved staff and dialysis availability for patients dependent on dialysis over the weekends."