Impact of admission month and hospital teaching status on outcomes in subarachnoid hemorrhage: evidence against the July effect

J Neurosurg 116:157–163, 2012. DOI: 10.3171/2011.8.JNS11324

The authors sought to identify the presence of a “July effect,” a transient increase in adverse outcomes during July, among a cohort of spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) admissions recorded in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS).

Methods. The discharge status, admission month, patient demographics, treatment parameters, and hospital characteristics among spontaneous SAH admissions were extracted from the 2001–2008 NIS. Multivariate regression was used to determine whether an unfavorable discharge status and/or in-hospital mortality significantly increased in summer months in a pattern suggestive of a July effect. Additional models were generated to assess the impact of hospital teaching status on these outcomes.

Results. Among 57,663,486 hospital admissions from the 2001–2008 NIS, 52,879 cases of spontaneous SAH (ICD-9-CM 430) were treated at teaching (36,914 cases [70%]) and nonteaching (15,965 cases [30%]) facilities. Regression models failed to reveal a July effect for in-hospital mortality (c2 = 0.75, p = 1.000) or unfavorable discharges (c2 = 1.69, p = 0.999) among monthly SAH admissions, although they did suggest a significant reduction in these outcomes (in-hospital mortality, OR = 0.89, p < 0.001; unfavorable discharges, OR = 0.88, p < 0.001) among teaching hospitals as compared with nonteaching hospitals after adjustment for disparities in demographic, treatment, and hospital characteristics.

Conclusions. The discharge disposition among SAH admissions within the NIS was not suggestive of a July effect but did reveal that teaching institutions have significantly lower rates of adverse outcomes when compared with nonteaching hospitals. Note, however, that the origins of this difference related to teaching status remain unclear.

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