Why are cardiac arrests more deadly on weekends?

It's safer to have cardiac arrest during the week than over weekends.
It's safer to have cardiac arrest during the week than over weekends.

Your odds of surviving a cardiac arrest long enough to be admitted to the hospital are lower on the weekend than on a weekday, researchers say.

For the study, the investigators analysed data from nearly 3 000 patients worldwide who suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and were treated with a publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED).

Worse outcomes for older patients

Overall, 27% of the patients survived to hospital admission, a rate that matches previous studies.

But those whose cardiac arrest occurred between 12 a.m. Saturday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday were about 20% less likely to survive to hospital admission than those who were stricken between Monday and Friday.

The odds were also lower for older patients and those whose cardiac arrest occurred at home, the findings showed.

"It is often said that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. These results suggest that there is an opportunity to address sudden cardiac arrests that occur during the weekend by improving AED awareness, availability and training, and quick response by rescuers," lead author Hannah Torney said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release. Torney is a doctoral student at Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

Weekend survival odds may be lower because people could be less likely to be near a publicly accessible AED, and others may not witness the event, the study authors suggested.

The researchers said their findings could help guide placement of AEDs to improve accessibility.

The preliminary research is to be presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting, in Philadelphia. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Image credit: iStock

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