II. Precautions

  1. Blood Pressures are frequently inaccurate due to improper cuff size, technique, or inadequate rest before measurement
  2. Recent nicotine in last 30-60 minutes can raise systolic Blood Pressure as much as 25 mmHg
  3. Avoid finger Blood Pressure monitors (and aside from morbidly obese patients, avoid wrist monitors)

III. Physiology

IV. Efficacy: Automated Blood Pressure

  1. U.S. Blood Pressure Validated Devices
    1. https://www.validatebp.org/
  2. Automated Blood Pressure is now recommended over manual Blood Pressures
    1. Mercury sphygmomanometers have largely been replaced due to toxicity risk
      1. Both manual and automatic non-mercury Blood Pressure cuffs require ongoing calibration
    2. Manual Blood Pressures have significant inter-operator variation
      1. Blood Pressure measurement should be performed by slowly lowering pressure in 2-3 mmHg increments
  3. Some studies find automated Blood Pressures inaccurate, overestimating both systolic and diastolic Blood Pressure
    1. Confirm elevated automated Blood Pressure with 2 manual, auscultated Blood Pressures
    2. Flynn (2012) J Pediatr 160(3): 434-40 [PubMed]
    3. Mansoor (2016) Open Access Maced J Med Sci 4(3): 404–9 [PubMed]
      1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042623/
  4. Other studies find automated Blood Pressures to be lower than manual when patient is at home or alone in clinic
    1. Roerecke (2019) JAMA Intern Med 179(3): 351-62 [PubMed]

V. Equipment: Blood Pressure cuff size

  1. Poor cuff fit results in inaccurate Blood Pressure
    1. Undersized cuff artificially raises Blood Pressure
    2. Oversized cuff artificially lowers Blood Pressure
  2. Pediatric Cuff size
    1. Based on arm circumference measured at point midway between acromion and olecranon
    2. Minimum Cuff Width
      1. Width >2/3 length of upper arm
      2. Width >40% of arm circumference
    3. Minimum Cuff length
      1. Bladder nearly encircles arm
      2. Bladder length 80-100% of circumference
  3. Adult Cuff size
    1. Cuff Width: 40% of limb's circumference
    2. Cuff Length: Bladder at 80% of limb's circumference
    3. Indications for large cuff or thigh cuff
      1. Upper arm circumference >34 cm
    4. Indications for Forearm cuff (with radial palpation)
      1. Upper arm circumference >50 cm

VI. Preparation: Positioning of Blood Pressure Cuff

  1. Cuff applied directly over skin (not through clothes)
    1. Clothes artificially raises Blood Pressure
  2. Center inflatable Bladder over brachial artery
  3. Position lower cuff border 2.5 cm above antecubital
  4. Patient's arm slightly flexed at elbow
  5. Position stethoscope bell over brachial artery

VII. Technique: BP measurement

  1. Patient should be comfortable, with empty Bladder
  2. Legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor
  3. Patient should not speaking during measurement
  4. Wait 5 minutes of rest before checking Blood Pressure
  5. Check Blood Pressure while seated, in right arm (Aortic Coarctation may falsely lower BP measurement)
  6. Take Blood Pressure with arm supported at heart level
  7. Inflate cuff rapidly to level above suspected SBP
  8. Deflate cuff slowly at a rate of 2-3 mmHg per second
  9. Listen for auditory vibrations from artery (Korotkoff)
    1. Systolic Blood Pressure: Onset of consecutive sounds
    2. Diastolic Blood Pressure: Disappearance of sounds

VIII. Technique: Obtain Multiple Blood Pressure measurements

  1. Validation of abnormal readings
    1. Recheck Blood Pressure twice more at same visit
    2. Blood Pressure improves to <160/89 after 30 minutes rest in >30% with Severe Hypertension
      1. Grassi (2008) J Clin Hypertens 10(9): 662-7 [PubMed]
  2. Aortic Coarctation
    1. Left and right arm, and one lower extremity
  3. Orthostatic Hypotension
    1. Most common chronically in the elderly (Fall Risk)
    2. Check Blood Pressure and Pulse, Supine and Standing (Postural Blood Pressure)

IX. Interpretation

X. Interpretation: Children

  1. See Pediatric Vital Signs
  2. Formulas for Systolic Blood Pressure estimate (for over age 1 year)
    1. Median SBP = 90 mmHg + (2 x Age in years)
    2. Minimum SBP = 70 mmHg + (2 x Age in years)
  3. Rough estimate for Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP)
    1. Typical systolic Blood Pressure
      1. Infant: 80
      2. Preschool: 90
      3. Adolescent: 100
    2. Minimal systolic Blood Pressure
      1. Infant: >60
      2. Toddler >70
      3. Preschool >75
      4. School-age: >80
      5. Teen >90
  4. Term Newborn (3 kg)
    1. Age 12 hours: 50-70 / 25-45
    2. Age 96 hours: 60-90 / 20-60
    3. Age 7 days: 74 +/- 22 mmHg (Systolic BP)
    4. Age 42 days: 96 +/- 20 mmHg (Systolic BP)
  5. Infant (6 months old)
    1. Blood Pressure: 87-105 / 53-66
  6. Toddler (2 years old)
    1. Blood Pressure: 95-105/53-66
  7. School age (7 years old)
    1. Blood Pressure: 97-112 / 57-71
  8. Adolescent (15 years old)
    1. Blood Pressure: 112-128 / 66-80

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Related Studies

Ontology: Blood Pressure (C0005823)

Definition (MSHCZE) Zkr. TK – tlak, kterým krev působí na stěnu cév, zejm. tepen. Zdrojem TK je činnost srdce čerpajícího krev do aorty, která slouží jako pružný rezervoár krve. TK v průběhu srdečního cyklu (systoly a diastoly) stoupá a klesá, nejvyšší hodnoty dosahuje v systole (systolický t.), kdy je také objem krve v aortě největší. (cit. Velký lékařský slovník online, 2013 http://lekarske.slovniky.cz/ )
Definition (NCI_NCI-GLOSS) The force of circulating blood on the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is taken using two measurements: systolic (measured when the heart beats, when blood pressure is at its highest) and diastolic (measured between heart beats, when blood pressure is at its lowest). Blood pressure is written with the systolic blood pressure first, followed by the diastolic blood pressure (for example 120/80).
Definition (NCI) The pressure of the circulating blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
Definition (MSH) PRESSURE of the BLOOD on the ARTERIES and other BLOOD VESSELS.
Definition (CSP) force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries and other vessels.
Concepts Organism Function (T040)
MSH D001794
SnomedCT 75367002
LNC LP40259-1, LP90874-6, MTHU008342
English Blood Pressure, Pressure, Blood, BLOOD PRESSURE, BP, blood pressure, Blood pressure, BP - Blood pressure, Blood pressure (observable entity), Blood pressure, NOS
Swedish Blodtryck
Spanish presión arterial, presión arterial (entidad observable), presión sanguínea (entidad observable), presión sanguínea, tensión arterial, Presión Sanguínea
Czech krevní tlak, tlak krve
Finnish Verenpaine
Japanese 血圧
Polish Ciśnienie krwi
Norwegian Blodtrykk
Portuguese Pressão Sanguínea
French Pression sanguine
German Blutdruck
Italian Pressione sanguigna
Dutch Bloeddruk, Druk, bloed-

Ontology: Korotkoff sounds (C0277892)

Concepts Finding (T033)
SnomedCT 85549003
English korotkoff sound, korotkoff sounds, korotkoffs sounds, Korotkoff sounds, Korotkoff sounds (function), Korotkoff sounds (observable entity), Korotkoff sounds, function (observable entity)
Spanish ruidos de Korotkoff (entidad observable), ruidos de Korotkoff (función), ruidos de Korotkoff