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Emergency Medical Minute


Dec 29, 2022

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Pediatric patients frequently have vital signs considered abnormal for age at discharge
  • Large multicenter study recently evaluated if pediatric patients discharged with abnormal vital signs have worse outcomes
    •  97,824 pediatric discharges were included in the study
    • 18.1% were discharged with vitals considered abnormal for age
    • No significant difference in readmission rates at 48 hours (2.28% in abnormal cohort vs. 2.45% in normal cohort)
    • No significant adverse outcomes in those discharged with abnormal vital signs (4 total PICU admissions with no deaths, CPR, or intubations)
  • When considering discharging pediatric patients, it is important to evaluate how the patient looks rather than just relying on vital signs
    • Consider leaving the child attached to a monitor, leaving the room, and then reevaluating them if they could be agitated by the presence of healthcare providers


Kazmierczak M, Thompson AD, DePiero AD, Selbst SM. Outcomes of patients discharged from the pediatric emergency department with abnormal vital signs. Am J Emerg Med. Jul 2022;57:76-80. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.202

Image from:

Vital Signs. MedlinePlus. Accessed December 29, 2022.

Summarized by Mark O’Brien, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz, MD, & Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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