What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing from your heart against your blood vessels. When the heart rests between beats, no blood is ejected and the pressure decrease. It is measured in the arteries and is recorded as two numbers: systolic pressure is the top, larger number and is generated by the heartís contraction; diastolic pressure is the bottom, smaller number and is the pressure in the arteries while the heart is filling and resting between beats. The average blood pressure of healthy adults is about 120/80. Blood pressure should be measured with cubital fossa at heart level by a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope . The arm should be supported. The stethoscope bell should be placed over the brachial artery pulse, proximal and medial to the cubital fossa, and below the bottom edge of the cuff. Cuff bladder length should cover 80% to 100% of the circumference of the arm and should be placed at a point midway between the olecranon and acrominon.

Recommendations to blood pressure measurement (JNC VI)

Patient  should

q       Rest for 5 minutes before measurement

q       Refrain from smoking or ingesting caffeine for 30 minutes prior to measurement

q       Be seated with feet flat on floor, back and arm supported, arm at heart level otherwise laying on the coach

Clinician should

q       Use the appropriate size cuff for the patient; the bladder should encircle at least 80 % of the upper arm

q       Use calibrated or mercury manometer

q Average two or more readings, separated by at least 2 minutes


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