Heart surgery survival chances ‘better in the afternoon’
Open heart surgery appears to be safer in the afternoon because of the body’s internal clock, scientists have said.
The body clock – or circadian rhythm – is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in the way our bodies work.
The research, published in the Lancet, suggests the heart is stronger and better able to withstand surgery in the afternoon than the morning.
And it says the difference is not down to surgeons being tired in the morning.
Doctors need to stop the heart to perform operations including heart valve replacements. This puts the organ under stress as the flow of oxygen to the heart tissue is reduced.
The doctors and researchers looked for complications including heart attacks, heart failure or death after surgery. They found:
- 54 out of 298 morning patients had adverse events
- 28 out of 298 afternoon patients had adverse events
- Afternoon patients had around half the risk of complications
- One major event would be avoided for every 11 patients operated on in the afternoon