What is a sphygmomanometer?

What is a sphygmomanometer?

Here, we’ll briefly describe what a sphygmomanometer is and its mechanism, as well as the meaning behind its long, peculiar name. Then we’ll dig deeper into the two main types of sphygmomanometers (manual and digital) and how to apply them under real life circumstances. 

  • Sphygmomanometer Definition
  • Normal Blood Pressure Range
  • How to Use Sphygmomanometer

Sphygmomanometer Definition

In Greek, the prefix Sphygmos means “pulse”, with the combination of modern date word manometer (an apparatus for testing pressure), formulates the new word Sphygmomanometer. The basic purpose of a manometer is to measure pressure by setting up a scale so that the rising of a column of fluid with which can be compared.

Well, sphygmomanometer comes with many names, blood pressure meter, blood pressure monitor, and blood pressure gauge. The essential parts of a sphygmomanometer are an inflatable wrap, a measuring unit gadget and a pumper that is either operated manually or electrically. The wrap measures the blood pressure by adopting “squeeze and release” method to identify at what pressure blood starts flowing and what pressure the blood flow stops.

The force that blood flow applied against the artery walls is the common understanding of blood pressure. Many people are bothered by Hypertension, aka High Blood Pressure. More than 100 million Americans are pained with Hypertension. This cardiovascular related disease has claimed many lives over the past 40 decades. The cause of Hypertension are stuffed arteries, coronary artery disease, aneurysms, an enlarged heart, kidney failure and scarring, stroke, heart failure and so on.

The reason why high Hypertension is quite dangerous is that there are no tell-tail signs for the attrition it causes, which is the reason why measuring your blood pressure should be your routine task, especially for social seniors. For any medical professionals, fully knowing the procedure of using a sphygmomanometer is an essential part of practicing in medical field.

Normal Blood Pressure Range

Meaning of blood pressure number

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:

  1. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
  2. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”

Normal blood pressure number

A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.

How to Use Sphygmomanometer

Digital Sphygmomanometers

Unlike the necessary need for a stethoscope in order to work as that of Manual Sphygmomanometers, Digital Sphygmomanometersand chooses a different route by employing oscillometric measurements and electronic calculations to determine blood pressure. Whenever blood flows through artery, the vibration it runs against the artery wall will be translated into electric signals in terms of times of pumps. It is a great replacement for manual Sphygmomanometer in noisy environments dur to the measurements and calculations can be made without listening through a stethoscope.

Manual sphygmomanometers

In order to fully operates a Manual Sphygmomanometers, it demands a quiet environment to hear the stethoscope readings, which might not be an ideal occasion in noisy environment.

Manual sphygmomanometers are usually used in pair with a stethoscope, which enables more clearer hearing for blood flow in body and in return, to help listener to measure blood pressure.

Research have demonstrated that manual sphygmomanometer has more accurate readings than automatic devices.

If you’re looking for a sphygmomanometer that is budget-friendly, then the FriCARE Sphygmomanometer is the one recommended. It has consistent reading and won’t embarrass you in front of your patients. The cuff is designed to be resistant to abrasion, chemical, and moisture while its inflation bulb is made with crack resistant and nonstick material.

The Clairre 2-in-1 Medical Aneroid Sphygmomanometer costs slightly more than the sphygmomanometers in the manual blood pressure cuff reviews above, but it’s super well-made and loaded with tools many nurses and nursing students can’t live without. Probably the best sphygmomanometer for medical students.

How to Operate a Sphygmomanometer?

Next, I'll take the Clairre sphygmomanometer as an example to explain how to use the manual sphygmomanometer:

  1. First, ensure the cuff is the correct size for the user’s arm. Wearer has to feel the firm tightness around the arm, which is a good indication for proper use.
  2. In order to get an accurate measurement, please make sure that the valve and bulb are attached securely and that there are no leaks anywhere,
  3. Wrap around the upper arm with the lower edge of the wrap about one inch above the elbow.
  4. If using a manual blood pressure monitor, be sure it is positioned right over the brachial artery, the main artery that runs down the length of the upper arm.
  5. The high pressure momentarily cuts off blood flow so that no sounds should be heard through the stethoscope. Then Pump the bulb to inflate the wrap until the pressure meter points at 180mmHg.
  6. Keep an eye on the meter, make sure the needle drops at a slow and steady pace, about 2 to 3 mmHg per second. While slowly releasing air from the valve and holding the stethoscope in place.
  7. listen through the stethoscope as you slowly release the air from wrap. Keep your eyes on the pressure and do the following steps.
  8. you will hear a thud as the pressure dropping in the cuff reaches the same pressure as the patient's systolic blood pressure.
  9. As the pressure in the cuff keeps dropping, the continuous thud will fade and then stop. Once this occurs, make this note as the measurement of the diastolic blood pressure.
  10. Those two numbers make up the patient’s blood pressure reading. How to understand this? if you measured 100 systolic and 90 diastolic, you would say, “100 over 90” or write “100/90 mmHg.” Any blood pressure at or below 120/80 is considered normal.
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