Explore our comprehensive blood pressure pages to gain a better understanding of cuff use, proper technique for taking readings, as well as practice drills and engaging case studies.
Taking a blood pressure reading with a sphygmomanometer is an easy process. The cuff, containing an inflatable rubber bladder, is placed around the arm and inflated by hand pump. As the pressure inside decreases with the release valve, arterial blood flow sounds are heard through a stethoscope. The patient's systolic and diastolic pressure are indicated on the cuff's dial or mercury level.
Each heart beat creates a rise and fall of arterial pressure as blood surges in the arteries. The high pressure point is the systolic pressure and is followed by a decrease in pressure. The diastolic pressure is the low blood pressure point.
When taking blood pressure, a stethoscope is positioned to listened to blood flow turbulence. The cuff is initially inflated well above expected systolic pressure. At this time, blood flow is stopped. No sounds are heard with the stethoscope. As the value is opened, pressure slowly diminishes.
When the cuff's pressure equals the arterial systolic pressure, blood begins to flow past the cuff. This creates blood flow turbulence and can be heard with the stethoscope. When these sounds are initially heard, the doctor or nurse makes a note of the cuff's air pressure value. As the cuff's air is continued to be released, the blood turbulence sounds continue to be heard. When the cuff's air pressure falls below the patient's arterial diastolic pressure, the sounds stop. This pressure when the blood flow sounds stop indicates the diastolic pressure.
There are mercury, aneroid (a mechanical dial) and digital blood pressure cuffs. Digital cuffs are automated while mercury and aneroid cuffs are used manually with a stethoscope.
Use the following link to learn more about measuring blood pressure and hypertension.High Blood Pressure - Hypertension Guides
We provide case-based training for measuring blood pressure using our simulator. The table of contents can be used to select a case.
Use this link for a simplified practice drill.
|Cases Related To Blood Pressure - Part I
In this course, you'll learn the fundamentals of assessing blood pressure irregularities. From hypertension to hypotension, a broad range of cases will be explored. Additionally, you can use our taking blood pressure drill.
|1||40-year-old man with headaches and shortness of breath|
|2||45-year-old woman with headache and facial swelling|
|3||A 50-year-old man with weight loss, fatigue, weakness...|
|4||A 65-year-old woman with a two-hour history of chest pain and dizziness.|
|5||A 54-year-old man is brought to the emergency room from his doctor's office.|
|6||A 45-year-old man complains of shortness of breath with exertion.|
|7||Ten-year-old girl brought to office by mother.|
|8||A 60-year-old woman enters emergency room after a recent fainting episode.|
|9||A 45-year-old woman complains of a two-month history of fast heart rate and palpitations.|
|10||A 75-year-old woman complains of lethargy ...|
|Cases Related To Blood Pressure - Part II
In this continuation course, you'll build on existing skills to learn r blood pressure readings, heart and lung sounds, history records, and any relevant test results. We explore hypotension and hypertension through examples of abnormal systolic or diastolic pressures.
|1||Fifty-year-old male in emergency room complains of dizziness and headache of two hour duration.|
|2||Male patient 30 years-of-age is seen in emergency room for frontal headache, sweating and palpitations.|
|3||47-year-old male with severe left calf pain|
|4||A 50-year-old woman with infected cut on hand|
|5||A 75-year-old man brought to emergency room after fainting|
|6||78-year-old male with shortness of breath with exertion and general fatigue.|
|7||65-year-old woman referred by internist for blood pressure elevation.|
|8||A 50-year-old woman has a fainting episode standing in her home.|
|9||A 50-year-old woman complains of headaches, dizziness and blurred vision.|
|10||A 75-year-old man with shortness of breath and chest pain on exertion|
|High Blood Pressure in Children Drill
These simple blood pressure drills allow students to quickly practice reading blood pressure by auscultation. No cases, just simulated patients to allow you to hone your skills. We recommend downloading the 'Pocket Guide to Blood Pressure Measurement in Children', National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, using the following link: A Pocket Guide to Blood Pressure Measurement in Children