Vital sign instability within 24 hours of hospital discharge is linked to almost 40% increased likelihood of death or readmission within 30 days, according to a study published online August 8 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to evaluate the links among vital sign instability within 24 hours of discharge, 30-day mortality, and readmission in a general population of adults hospitalized for a variety of medical conditions, according to the authors.

“[O]ur findings suggest that providers should pay close attention to patients’ vital signs in the 24 hours prior to contemplating discharge, and not just the very last set, which may be subject to measurement bias favoring discharge,” write Oanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MAS, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and colleagues.