How To Use A Professional Blood Pressure Monitor

The ability to monitor a patients blood pressure requires two medical tools, the stethoscope and the blood pressure cuff.

"Lub dub"¦ lub dub"¦lub dub" is the rhythm of a normal heart pumping blood through the arteries of ones body to the vital organs.Another common sound is "120 over 80" or "124 or 72".These numbers are associated with blood pressure.Blood pressure is a measurement of pressure against the walls of the arteries through which the blood flows.The first of these two numbers is the systolic pressure, or the "lub".It measures the amount of pressure on the walls of the arteries while the heart beats.The second number is diastolic pressure.It is the second "dub".It measures the pressure on artery walls when the heart is at rest between beats.Medical professionals use both of these numbers to measure the constant pressure.

Understanding the details of blood pressure and the subsequent effects it has on the body can be a daunting task for people not medically trained.However, taking a blood pressure reading is not a difficult task for most.

To begin the proper procedure for taking a blood pressure reading, some essential tools are required.These tools include a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff that is the proper size for the patient.

Professional blood pressure cuffs are available in most medical supply stores.If the cuff is to be used on a variety of patients, it is advisable to purchase the standard size.However, if the cuff is for use on a spouse or family member, bring them along and have them try the cuff on before purchasing it.This is especially important when dealing with people who are children or obese.

The second tool, the stethoscope, can also be purchased in most medical supply stores.The size of stethoscope is not nearly as important.A standard stethoscope will work on almost all patients.

Once the tools are in place the practice of taking ones blood pressure is fairly simple.The first step is removing any extra thick clothing from the patient's bicep area.This may be a sweater, coat, or sweatshirt.A normal long-sleeved shirt or short sleeved shirt will not impede a proper reading.In other words, placing the cuff on bare skin is not essential.



The second step is actually wrapping the cuff around the bicep area.This can be tricky because the cuff can end up right side down or inside out.There are typically arrows printed on the cuff in order to demonstrate the proper way to wrap it.

Once the cuff is applied, the stethoscope is placed on the inside of the forearm just below the inside crease of the elbow joint. It is very important at this point and throughout the procedure to keep the cuffed arm at heart level.Equally as important is to never wrap a cuff around an arm that has a dialysis stint or "picc" inserted in it.

Like the cuff, the stethoscope can be inserted into the ears in the wrong direction which makes it hard to hear.Make sure it is inserted properly.

After the stethoscope is in place, the screw valve on the end of the pressure dial must be closed.This allows the air to build up in the cuff as you squeeze the little pressure ball.

Watch the dial closely as you squeeze the ball.

A common question is "how much pressure is enough?"Technically, the person administering the blood pressure reading should hold the forefinger and middle finger on the radial pulse which is just below the thumb on the wrist.As the pressure is increased, the radial pulse will disappear.At this point, the blood pressure cuff should be filled another 20 mmHg.This procedure required letting go of the stethoscope while one fills the blood pressure cuff in order to free both hands.One hand is needed to pump the cuff while the other hand takes the radial pulse reading.The gauge clips to the cuff, in most cases, so it can be observed by the administrator to get the proper amount of pressure built up.

With pressure built up, now it is time to listen.This takes multi-tasking.First, the valve that was closed must very slowly be opened so the air can seep out.Secondly,one must watch the gauge very closely as the needle starts to rotate downward.

Once the needle is dropping listen to the stethoscope.If the stethoscope is placed correctly, a heart beat will begin to be heard.The first number of ones blood pressure is the needle reading on the gauge at the point at which the heart beat starts.

The sound of the heart beat continues and then stops again.When the heart beat stops being heard through the stethoscope, this is the second reading, or the bottom number of the blood pressure reading.

If no heart beat is heard throughout the process, attempt moving the positioning of the stethoscope.The stethoscope must be placed on the brachial artery for an accurate reading.It is easy to miss the placement, especially on patients with large forearms.

Taking ones blood pressure requires practice, especially listening practice.It is easy to miss the heart beat if the administrator is not familiar with the sounds.Over time, however, it can be done by nearly anyone.The ability to administer blood pressure tests can save a lot of time and money for all parties involved.More importantly, it can bring peace of mind to family or loved ones who are concerned about the effects it can cause if not monitored.

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