The effect of weekend and after-hours surgery on morbidity and mortality rates in pediatric neurosurgery patients

Virendra Desai, David Gonda, Sheila L. Ryan, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen, Sohail H. Syed, Andrew Jea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Object Several studies have indicated that the 30-day morbidity and mortality risks are higher among pediatric and adult patients who are admitted on the weekends. This "weekend effect" has been observed among patients admitted with and for a variety of diagnoses and procedures, including myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke, peptic ulcer disease, and pediatric surgery. In this study, morbidity and mortality outcomes for emergency pediatric neurosurgical procedures carried out on the weekend or after hours are compared with emergency surgical procedures performed during regular weekday business hours. Methods A retrospective analysis of operative data was conducted. Between December 1, 2011, and August 20, 2014, a total of 710 urgent or emergency neurosurgical procedures were performed at Texas Children's Hospital in children younger than than 18 years of age. These procedures were then stratified into 3 groups: weekday regular hours, weekday after hours, and weekend hours. By cross-referencing these events with a prospectively collected morbidity and mortality database, the impact of the day and time on complication incidence was examined. Outcome metrics were compared using logistic regression models. Results The weekday regular hours and after-hours (weekday after hours and weekends) surgery groups consisted of 341 and 239 patients and 434 and 276 procedures, respectively. There were no significant differences in the types of cases performed (p = 0.629) or baseline preoperative health status as determined by American Society of Anesthesiologists classifications (p = 0.220) between the 2 cohorts. After multivariate adjustment and regression, children undergoing emergency neurosurgical procedures during weekday after hours or weekends were more likely to experience complications (p = 0.0227). Conclusions Weekday after-hours and weekend emergency pediatric neurosurgical procedures are associated with significantly increased 30-day morbidity and mortality risk compared with procedures performed during weekday regular hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Patient safety
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Surgical outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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