Medical Studies

Does your mortality rate increase when your doctor is out of town?

According to a paper by Jena et al. (2014), the answer is no.

The paper examines 30-day mortality rates for Medicare patients admitted to the hospital with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart failure and compares “…mortality and treatment differences…during dates of national cardiology meetings compared with nonmeeting dates.mortality rates “during dates of national cardiology meetings compared with nonmeeting dates.”

The authors compare mortality in the period just before and just after the conference to the meeting dates and find no differences in patient characteristics. However, they conclude that:

High-risk patients with heart failure and cardiac arrest hospitalized in teaching hospitals had lower 30-day mortality when admitted during dates of national cardiology meetings. High-risk patients with AMI admitted to teaching hospitals during meetings were less likely to receive PCI, without any mortality effect.

In layman’s terms, don’t worry too much if you are admitted to a teaching hospital and your doctor is out of town. Your chance of dying is likely the same or may even improve.

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