Variation in hospital resource allocations across weekdays and weekends have led to studies of the ‘weekend effect’ for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), heart failure (HF) and stroke. However, few studies have explored the ‘weekend effect’ on unplanned readmission. We aimed to investigate 30-day unplanned readmissions and processes of care across weekend and weekday hospitalisations for STEMI, NSTEMI, HF and stroke.
We grouped hospitalisations for STEMI, NSTEMI, HF or stroke into weekday or weekend admissions. Multivariable adjusted ORs for binary outcomes across weekend versus weekday (reference) groups were estimated using logistic regression.
We included all non-elective hospitalisations for STEMI, NSTEMI, HF or stroke, which were recorded in the US Nationwide Readmissions Database between 2010 and 2014.
The analysis sample included 659 906 hospitalisations for STEMI, 1 420 600 hospitalisations for NSTEMI, 3 027 699 hospitalisations for HF, and 2 574 168 hospitalisations for stroke.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was unplanned 30-day readmission. As secondary outcomes, we considered length of stay and the following processes of care: coronary angiography, primary percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass graft, thrombolysis, brain scan/imaging, thrombectomy, echocardiography and cardiac resynchronisation therapy/implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
Unplanned 30-day readmission rates were 11.0%, 15.1%, 23.0% and 10.9% for STEMI, NSTEMI, HF and stroke, respectively. Weekend hospitalisations for HF were associated with a statistically significant but modest increase in 30-day readmissions (OR of 1.045, 95% CI 1.033 to 1.058). Weekend hospitalisation for STEMI, NSTEMI or stroke was not associated with increased risk of 30-day readmission.
There was no clinically meaningful evidence against the supposition that weekend and weekday hospitalisations have the same 30-day unplanned readmissions. Thirty-day readmission rates were high, especially for HF, which has implications for service provision. Strategies to reduce readmission rates should be explored, regardless of day of hospitalisation.