Blood Pressure Protocol
This method uses a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. (See picture below) Some offices have blood pressure cuffs that are mounted to the wall and use mercury to measure the pressure.
What is Blood pressure?
Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood out into the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle which beats 60-70 times per minute at rest.
Blood pressure is always given with two numbers:
• The systolic pressure is the maximum pressure in an artery at the moment when the heart is beating and pumping blood through the body.
• The diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure in an artery in the moments between beats when the heart is resting.
When you record the two measurements, they are written down with the systolic pressure first or the top number, and the diastolic pressure second or the bottom number (for example, 120/80). If your blood pressure is 120/80, you say that it is “120 over 80.”
Why Take our patient’s blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a simple and painless procedure that gives us allot of useful information about the heart and the condition of the body. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. In fact, many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That’s why it’s called the “silent killer.”
- To take a blood pressure reading, the patient needs to be relaxed and comfortably seated, with the arm well supported.
- A cuff that inflates is wrapped around the upper arm and kept in place with Velcro. A tube leads out of the cuff to a rubber bulb.
- Air is then blown into the cuff and increasing pressure and tightening is felt on the upper arm.
- The stethoscope is put on the inside of the arm just above the bend in the elbow and the operator listens for the pulse while the air is slowly let out of the cuff.
- The systolic pressure is measured when the operator first hears the pulse.
- This sound will slowly become more distant and finally disappear. The diastolic pressure is measured from the moment the operator is unable to hear the sound of the pulse.
- The blood pressure is measured in terms of millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
- Record reading in patient chart.
- 120/80 is the standard guideline for normal.
- If the reading is higher the 130/85 re-take and re- record at the end of the appointment.
- If you still get a high reading recommend the patient see their physician for a follow up and long term monitoring to rule out hypertension.
Blood pressure changes during the day. It is lowest when you sleep and rises when you get up. It also can rise when you are excited, nervous, or active.
What is high blood pressure?
A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure. Both numbers are important. If one or both numbers are unusually high with repeated readings, you have high blood pressure. Patient being treated for high blood pressure that are on medication can have repeated readings in the normal range.
Some say the ausculatory Method is still the best way to measure blood pressure.
Blood pressure can be measured in other ways, such as using an automatic blood pressure gauge or monitor. These monitors can also be used by patients to monitor their blood pressure at home.
Electronic blood pressure measuring devices are becoming the norm now that mercury is being phased out because of its hazardous nature.
Most of these automated or electronic blood pressure measuring devicesare now accurate enough for routine clinical use and are relatively inexpensive.
They eliminate many of the errors in blood pressure measurement that human beings can generate.
For more information:
See other posts on auotmated blood pressure.