Skill is necessary in order to accomplish a good result on taking blood pressure. If you have acquired the knowledge through appropriate practice, this can be very useful especially when a member of the family is experiencing some blood pressure conditions such as high blood or low blood pressure. So what do you need in order to perform an accurate measure of blood pressure? Generally, there are three things that are essential in taking BP namely, the manual device also called the sphygmomanometer, cuff and of course, stethoscope.
Basically, when taking blood pressure using this
device, it simply begins with the cuff getting wrapped around the upper portion of the arm. There is
somewhat a tube that adjoins it with the bulb and a valve at the bottom part which helps in inflating and
deflating of the cuff.
The particular cuff is connected through a tube to the sphygmomanometer which determines the
amount of air is needed by the cuff. On the other hand, the stethoscope is the instrument used to listen
and evaluate the sounds in connection with the blood pressure.
Taking the blood pressure
• The person should sit comfortably without engaging in any movement at least 15-30 minutes
prior to taking BP. The left arm should lay still and flat on the table or desk so as the feet flat on
• The cuff should be wrapped around the upper portion of the arm only an inch beyond the
elbow. Again, be sure the cuff fits snugly on the arms, not too tight or too loose either.
• Find the brachial artery on the inside part of the elbow, and be sure to place the flat part of the
stethoscope on that area.
• Locate the bulb adjoining the cuff and start inflating the cuff over 30 points beyond the patient’s
average systolic BP.
• Gradually open the valve and for the pressure to be released from the cuff. This time you should
have placed the stethoscope in your ears to be able to listen carefully to the sound at the
• The initial pulse or throbbing sound that you can hear in the stethoscope represents your
systolic pressure. Again, listen to the sound until it completely fades away and turns into silence.
This reflects your diastolic pressure.
• Be sure to record your systolic and diastolic pressures because this will be the basis if you are
suffering from certain BP disorders.
Sphygmomanometer indicates if you have a high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure
(hypotension). The normal BP reading is more or less 120/80 (systolic/diastolic). To avoid inaccurate
readings, do not engage in physical activities such as exercise, or smoke and avoid taking in caffeine at
least half an hour before taking blood pressure.
A left arm is commonly used in this procedure but a right hand is also acceptable. Just remember that
whatever arm is used; always have them parallel to the heart when the elbow is folded. When the arms are
higher or lower from the heart, there will be inaccuracies in results.