How to use a Sphygmomanometer for Blood Pressure Measurement. It is crucial to know how to use a Sphygmomanometer properly to check your blood pressure.
Sphygmomanometer sales declined due to the pandemic and forced lockdown in 2020. I’ve reviewed the top sphygmomanometers for home and clinical use.
Bottom line: More people use sphygmomanometers for their blood pressure testing, and more questions arise about using them.
This is what we’ll be looking at today. It will be taken step-by-step, however.
We’ll first look at the Sphygmomanometer, its functions, and how you can use it. We’ll also discuss what the readings mean.
Let’s get started if you are ready.
What is a Sphygmomanometer, and how do you use it?
A sphygmomanometer, a small instrument that measures blood pressure, is called a sphygmomanometer.
The Sphygmomanometer has many components. An inflatable rubber cuff wraps around the arm of the patient.
A measuring device is connected to the cuff. It will display the Pressure of the cuff as it is read.
The third component is a small, rubber-like bulb that inflates the cuff.
A release valve allows air to escape from the cuff.
The stethoscope can also listen for arterial blood flow sounds when the cuff has been applied to the patient.
How a Sphygmomanometer takes readings
Blood is forced through your arteries as your heart beats. Systolic Pressure refers to the Pressure that rises as blood is pumped from the heart.
Pressure decreases as the heart contracts and the ventricles prepare to take another beat. This low-pressure period is known as diastolic.
The Sphygmomanometer measures the difference between these pressures.
The cuff is the first step. The cuff is attached to the patient’s arms, and the air is pumped through it.
The user opens the valve so that the cuff pressure gradually decreases until it equals the systolic arterial tension.
This is when blood starts to flow past the cuff, creating sounds (known as Korotkoff Sounds) that can be detected using a stethoscope.
The sounds are recorded, and the pressure of the cuff is recorded. Air is then slowly released by the valve.
The blood flow sounds will cease if the cuff’s pressure falls below the arterial Pressure. This is the diastolic point, and it is recorded.
Systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as systolic pressure ‘over’ diastolic (e.g., 120 over80).
How to use a Sphygmomanometer
We now have a better understanding of how the Sphygmomanometer functions and the steps required to use it.
Let’s look at them now.
The cuff should be wrapped around the patient’s upper arm. The cuff’s lower edge should be 1 inch higher than the antecubital Fossa.
Use the bulb to inflate the cuff until the Pressure is around 180mmHg.
Use the escape vale to start releasing air from the cuff.
The stethoscope is in place. Listen to the subject’s blood flow just below the cuff. Observe the mercury gauge or dial of the Sphygmomanometer while you do this.
Take the readings from the gauge or dial. As you lower the Pressure, the first knocking sound (Korotkoff) you will hear is the subject’s Systolic Pressure.
The diastolic pressure will determine the point at which the sound stops.
You can repeat the same process with the other arm. (While noting the differences between the readings, take a note).
It is a good idea to take note of the patient’s position and whether they are reading their right or left arm. Also, what size the cuff is.
How to Use a Sphygmomanometer: Understanding the Readings
Now that you have taken readings with the Sphygmomanometer, it is time to interpret what you’ve done.
A normal test should read 120/80 (systolic/diastolic).
A patient could have prehypertension if they had a reading of 120 to 139 for systolic or 80 to 89 respectively.
This would be indicated by the fact that a Sphygmomanometer can be used at home. They are a tool for hypertension sufferers to track and record their levels.
If your systolic pressure is between 140-150 and your diastolic pressure is between 90-99, you may have stage 1 hypertension.
A systolic exceeding 160 with a diastolic above 100 indicates Stage II hypertension.
Stage 3 hypertension is more than 180 systolic and 110 diastolic.
Do not panic if you get readings that are more severe than expected. False readings are possible and you should always take at least one.
Give it a while, then reapply the cuff again and go back to your normal routine. In the meantime, avoid caffeine and extreme exercise.
If the situation does not change, it is worth visiting your doctor to get further information about your blood pressure, as well as advice on what to do.