The Weekend Effect in AAA Repair

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Abstract

Background:

Conflicting reports exist regarding whether patients undergoing surgery on the weekend or later in the week experience worse outcomes.

Methods:

We identified patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair in the Vascular Quality Initiative between 2009 and 2017 [n = 38,498; 30,537 endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) and 7961 open repair]. We utilized mixed effects logistic regression to compare adjusted rates of perioperative mortality based on the day of repair.

Results:

Tuesday was the most common day for elective repair (22%), Friday for symptomatic repairs (20%), and ruptured aneurysms were evenly distributed. Patients with ruptured aneurysms experienced similar adjusted mortality whether they underwent repair during the week or on weekends. Transfers of ruptured AAA were more common over the weekend. However, patients transferred on the weekend experienced higher adjusted mortality than those transferred during the week (28% vs 21%, P = 0.02), despite the fact that during the week, transferred patients actually experienced lower adjusted mortality than patients treated at the index hospital (21% vs 31%, P < 0.01). Among symptomatic patients, adjusted mortality was higher for those undergoing repair over the weekend than those whose surgeries were delayed until a weekday (7.9% vs 3.1%, P = 0.02). Adjusted mortality in elective cases did not vary across the days of the week. Results were consistent between open and EVAR patients.

Conclusion:

We found no evidence of a weekend effect for ruptured or symptomatic AAA repair. However, patients with ruptured AAA transferred on the weekend experienced higher mortality than those transferred during the week, suggesting a need for improvement in weekend transfer processes.

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