9 Best and Worst Times for Surgery, Screening, Sex and More


Best Day to Check Into the Hospital

Answer: Thursday

Not that patients often have a choice in the matter, but Thursdays seem to be the optimal hospital check-in date for patients who want longer hospital recovery time. In a study by the Institute for Public Policy Research, patients who were admitted on Thursday stayed a 24 hours longer in the hospital than those who checked in on Sunday. For those who want to get home as soon as possible, Sunday may be the check-in day of choice.

Best/Worst Time to Schedule Surgery

Answer: Best Is Morning; Worst Is Midafternoon

Going under the knife is usually a stressful affair, but patients can go into the operating room with a little bit of added assurance if their surgeries are scheduled before noon. A Duke University study published in Quality and Safety in Healthcare in 2006 found that those undergoing surgery between 9 a.m. and noon had the lowest incidence of anesthetic-related complications.

Surgery starting between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. is the worst for anesthetic-related complications, although researchers noted that such complications were very seldom life-threatening. Adverse events were usually prolonged sedation, wound infection, nausea and vomiting. Why would time of day affect this? Researchers speculated that varying degrees of pain tolerance in the patient throughout the day or staff fatigue could be responsible.

Best Time of the Day to Take Heart Medicine

Answer: Bedtime

Regularly taking prescribed medication for heart disease is essential to reducing the risk of a heart attack, but the time of day this medication is taken makes a big difference, according to new research from the University of Guelph in Spain.

Many doctors prefer to give heart drugs to patients in the morning, but this study found that ACE inhibitors, a common drug given to patients following a heart attack, are more effective when they can work overnight while the patient is sleeping. Timing has such a large effect on these drugs that researchers found that ACE inhibitors given in the morning were no more effective than placebos at improving heart structure and function.

This bedtime timing holds true for those who take baby aspirin to thin their blood. In another study from Spain -- the University of Vigo this time -- researchers found that those with prehypertension who took an aspirin at 11 p.m. had lower blood pressure readings after three months than those who took their aspirin at 8 A.M.

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