vital signs

plural noun

Definition of vital signs

1 : signs of life … frightened even more by the fact that a few months ago you were clinically dead—that's right, dead—all vital signs gone.— Asa Baber specifically : the pulse rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and blood pressure of a person Her vital signs and findings from physical examination were normal, and she was not hospitalized. — John P. Hanrahan et al.
2 : measurable variables considered to indicate the general state or condition of something The economy's vital signs are stronger than they have been in years. Companies are posting jobs faster than they can find workers to fill them.— Ben Casselman He proposes that living things act as a single, coordinated entity that maintains the earth's temperature and other vital signs within very narrow limits that are to the entity's own benefit.— Michael Oppenheimer The singular vital sign is sometimes used for a single sign or measurement. The box … houses nine removable electronic modules, each of which monitors a specific vital sign, such as temperature, oil pressure, and the rpm of the power turbine and gas producer.— Jay Coyle The singular form is also often used before another noun. vital sign monitors vital sign data

Examples of vital signs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The diocese says after 61 minutes without vital signs, the baby’s heart began beating and the child breathed normally, and the infant is now a healthy young child., "Italian rescue ship docks in Italian port against ban," 6 July 2019 Nurses were not properly monitoring patients’ vital signs while administering blood transfusions, not only in the case of the patient who died, but also in 18 out of 33 other cases examined, the investigation found. Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News, "No one should die from a blood transfusion. So why did it happen at MD Anderson, the nation's top cancer hospital?," 26 June 2019 Pharmaceutical companies used the fifth vital sign campaign as a way to promote their opioid treatments. STAT, "While addiction crisis raged, many surgeons overprescribed opioids, analysis shows," 21 June 2019 Bales had a monitor in front of him, with a digital readout of the computer’s vital signs. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Apollo 11: Mission Out of Control," 24 June 2019 The decision notes that other than checking on Jensen’s blood pressure and giving her a sports drink, Clyde didn’t take her vital signs, perform other tests or contact the physician’s assistant even after Jensen filled out a medical request form. Sharon Cohen, The Denver Post, "AP Investigation: Many U.S. jails fail to stop inmate suicides," 18 June 2019 The screening would include an interview with the migrant, a psychological exam and screenings for vital signs like pulse, temperature, blood pressure and oxygen levels. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Democrats unveil bill to bolster care of migrants in Border Patrol custody," 12 June 2019 Under the current rules, dentists who are trained in the use of anesthesia can — and often do — rely on assistants without that training to monitor vital signs. Cat Ferguson, The Mercury News, "In wake of East Bay child’s death, dental group releases new guidance on anesthesia," 10 June 2019 The danger is that treating pain as a vital sign might cause the patient to exaggerate pain symptoms. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Did the crackdown on opioid prescriptions go too far? Here's why doctors are reconsidering," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vital signs.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vital signs

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for vital signs

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for vital signs

The first known use of vital signs was in 1801

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More Definitions for vital signs

vital signs


English Language Learners Definition of vital signs

: important body functions (such as breathing and heartbeat) that are measured to see if someone is alive or healthy

vital signs

noun plural

Medical Definition of vital signs

: signs of life specifically : the pulse rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and often blood pressure of a person

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