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What makes an accurate blood pressure measurement?

Posted on May 10 2012

There are a lot of factors that go into an accurate blood pressure reading. Having the patient sit, legs uncrossed, relaxed, for a few minutes prior to will help the reading to be more accurate. In addition, using a unit with easy-to-read gauges or digital interfaces and placement markings on the cuff make taking a person's blood pressure a lot simpler for you. Not only do you need a quality, reliable instrument that is the correct size, but each of its individual parts need to be working, as well.

The part of a blood pressure monitor that inflates around the arm is actually located inside the cuff, and is known as the "inflation bladder." This component is usually made of rubber and acts a lot like a balloon. What keeps it from inflating fully, is the cuff around it. The cuff itself needs to be the right size for the patient. Any cuff that is too small or too large will yield an inaccurate reading. Most blood pressure cuffs today have markings that show where it should be placed on the arm, and will show if it is the right size of not.

In a busy healthcare facility, it is easy to use one unit several times per day, which can lead to some parts of it wearing out, or malfunctioning. In order to get a correct reading, the unit needs to be routinely calibrated (if the unit requires such) and each of its parts - gauge, cuff, bulb, valve, etc. - need to be working properly. For example, the rubber bladder may lose its shape if it has been over-inflated or just used too many times. Most inflation bladders, like those from ADC, exhibit a seamless design that is easy to replace for reliable, uniform pressure. Keeping extra parts on-hand might not be a bad idea either – especially for those times when your cuff malfunctions and you have a busy facility full of patients to care for.

For more information on blood pressure units and how to order, visit our website www.mountainside-medical.com, or call to speak with one of our excellent customer care representatives at 1-888-687-4334.

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