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Patients operated on at night “at greater risk of complications or dying”

Patients who have surgery overnight are much more likely to develop serious complications than those operated on during the day, a study has found.

Potentially life-threatening events, such as a dangerous drop in blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms, occur in 44% of patients whose procedure takes place between 8pm and 7.59am.

That compares to a lower incidence of 34% of such “adverse events” among patients who undergo surgery between 8am and 7.59pm, according to a major global study.

Experts said the higher risk for night-time patients was linked to medical staff being tired and fewer personnel being on duty, as well as those undergoing surgery being sicker.

“The findings of this study will be a concern for all clinicians,” said Dr William Harrop-Griffiths, the chair of the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ clinical quality and research board.

Read more in The Guardian.

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