Risk of death doubles at night

According to new research, your risk of dying nearly doubles if you have surgery late at night or in the early hours of morning.

The Canadian study, undertaken by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, found that people who ‘went under the knife’ between 11.30pm and 7.29am were 2.17 times more likely to die than people operated on between 7.30am and 3.29pm.

The study also found that patients who underwent surgery between 3.30pm and 11.29pm were 1.43 times more likely to die than those operated on during regular work hours.

The retrospective study reviewed all surgical procedures undertaken between April 2010 and March 2015 at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. During this period, there were over 40,000 elective and emergency surgeries performed on some 33,000 patients.

Possible blame for higher rates of mortality in these hours could be fatigue during anaesthesia and surgery, night-time staffing issues, treatment delays, or the number of available operating rooms.

Another study conducted in 2015, The Global Comparators Project, found that patients were also more likely to die if they’d been admitted to hospital on a weekend.

The authors of the study now hope to further analyse the possible causes for this phenomenon in order to reduce mortality rates for those who undergo after-hours surgery.

Have you ever had surgery after hours? With this knowledge in mind, would you opt for daytime surgery, even if a doctor said your operation was urgent?

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