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Time of Surgery Doesn't Influence Results, Study Says

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The timing of an operation doesn't affect a patient's subsequent risk of complications or death, a new study finds.

For example, there's no difference in death rates between elective surgery performed in the afternoon versus the morning or on Monday instead of Friday, the researchers said. Their findings should help to ease concerns that fatigue may lead to a higher rate of safety problems when operations are performed later in the day or week, they said.

The study included an analysis of the outcomes of more than 32,000 elective surgeries performed between 2005 and 2010. The overall complication rate before discharge was 13 percent, and the overall risk of death within 30 days of surgery was 0.43 percent.

After the researchers adjusted for other factors, the risk of complications or death was not significantly different for patients who had surgery at different times of the day -- between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. -- or week.

The time of year also had no impact on the risk of complications or death. This included July and August, when most new residents start working in teaching hospitals.

The study appears in the December issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.

"Elective surgery thus appears to be comparably safe at any time of the workday, any day of the workweek, and in any month of the year in our teaching hospital," Dr. Daniel Sessler, of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues concluded in a journal news release.

Some previous studies have suggested that patients are at greater risk if they undergo late-day surgery.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about surgery.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Anesthesia & Analgesia, news release, Nov. 23, 2011

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