A recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic linked hospital off-hours to increased death rates following a heart attack. Researchers reviewed an average of 2 million medical records, analyzing patient outcomes 30 days after experiencing a heart attack. Results demonstrated a 5-percent higher chance of death, for clients arriving to the hospital during weekends and evening shifts. Patients, who arrived to the hospital during off-hours, experienced a 15 minute longer wait time than patients admitted during weekdays and normal business hours. Could these tragedies have been a result of understaffed medical units?

The BMJ comments further on understaffing, and the role it may have played in the delay of treatment:

An around the clock on-site cardiology service is not uniformly available. During off-hours, many institutions need to assemble on-call staff and cardiologists to activate the cardiac catheterization laboratory…Other potential attributes to the increase in mortality during off-hours are availability of skilled staff in the cardiac care unit, availability of diagnostic tests, number of physicians or nursing staff, and human factors such as sleep deprivation and fatigue. 

Do’s & Don’ts if you think you’re experiencing a heart attack:

1. Don’t delay in getting help

2. Call 911

3. Take an Aspirin (if allergic as your doctor for an alternative blood thinner)

A great resource video provided by ABCnews.com related to Mayo Clinic's study:



* All information should shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.