Study: Vital Sign Instabilities Linked to Death, Readmissions

August 30, 2016
Medicare Web

Nearly 20% of patients involved in a recent UT Southwestern Medical Center study were discharged from the hospital with one or more unstable vital signs, resulting in a higher number of deaths or readmissions than patients discharged with stable vital signs.

Of those patients who were discharged with no vital sign instabilities, 12.8% died or were readmitted after discharge. The instances of death or readmission increased as the number of unstable vital signs increased. Approximately 17% of patients with one vital sign instability died or were readmitted, compared to 21.2% with two instabilities and 26% with three or more. Patients with three or more unstable vitals were four times as likely as those with stable vitals to die after discharge. These individuals were also at an increased risk for 30-day readmissions.

The study examined 32,835 patients ages 18 years and older at six hospitals in North Texas from 2009–2010. Hospital types represented included safety net, community, teaching, and non-teaching. Researchers concluded that “vital sign instability on discharge is associated with increased risk-adjusted rates of 30-day mortality and readmission.”