Authors: Justin E Dvorak, Erica L W Lester, Patrick J Maluso , Leah C Tatebe, Faran Bokhari
Journal: The Journal of Surgical Research
Published Date: October 2020, February 2021 (print)
PMID: 33011451
DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.08.065


The presence of a “weekend effect”, that is, increased morbidity/mortality for patients admitted to the hospital on a weekend, has been reported in numerous studies across many specialties. Postulated causes include reduced weekend staffing, increased time between admission and undergoing procedures/surgery, and decreased subspecialty availability. The aim of this study is to evaluate if a “weekend effect” exists in trauma care in the United States.


Using the 2012-2015 National In-patient Sample database from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, adults with trauma diagnoses who were admitted non-electively were analyzed. Using logistic and negative binomial regression adjusted for survey-related discharge weights and statistically significant covariables, mortality and length of stay (LOS) were assessed, respectively. Subgroup analysis was conducted using rural, urban teaching, and urban nonteaching hospital-type subgroups. Additional subgroup analysis of patients who required surgery during admission was also performed.


A total of 22,451 patients were identified, with 3.94% admitted to rural and 81.42% to urban hospitals. Weekend admission did not have a statistically significant difference in adjusted mortality (OR 0.928; 95% CI 0.858-1.003; P = 0.059) or LOS (IRR 0.978; 95% CI 0.945-1.011; P = 0.199). There was also no statistically significant increase in mortality or LOS for weekend admits in any of the hospital subgroups.


There does not appear to be a weekend effect for trauma admission. This may be explained by the nature of trauma care in the United States, in which there is often 24-h in-house coverage regardless of day of the week. Replicating a trauma service coverage schedule may help other services decrease the presence of the weekend effect.