How Is Blood Pressure Measured?

Recommendation for at least 30 minutes before the test:
– Avoid caffeine
– Avoid exercise

1. Position

Ask the woman to sit up straight in a chair and put both feet on the floor.

On a flat surface, place her hand, with the palm facing up.

She must be relaxed for a better reading.

2. Cuff + stethoscope

Take the sphygmomanometer (a small gauge attached to an inflatable cuff) and wrap it firmly around the upper left or right bare arm, about 2 cm above the elbow.

Left arm is sometimes preferred because its closer to the heart but if its possible to take blood pressure in both arms the better, this way you will certainly know the difference between both arms which normally is a small difference.

Listen with the stethoscope the blood moving through the brachial artery in the cubital fossa or the inner side on the anterior surface depression of the elbow joint.

Inflate the cuff to a pressure around 160.

It will tighten around the arm. Make sure it is tighten comfortably (must be able to insert 2 fingers between the cuff and her arm).

Release slowly allowing the cuff deflate enough for you to take a reading.

3. Korokuff sound

The first sound heard through the stethoscope is the systolic blood pressure (like a whooshing noise)

The systolic reading indicates pressure in the arteries when the heart is actively pumping.

The point where this noise goes away marks the diastolic blood pressure.

The diastolic reading indicates pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest .

Note: Some cuffs go around the forearm , but often they aren’t as accurate. If the woman arm is too big for the cuff, the reading may be higher than her blood pressure really is.

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