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Blood Pressure…Ooohhh Yeeaahhh!!! November 13 2014

In a few of our past blog entries we have discussed the merits of automatic blood pressure testing versus manual blood pressure testing. Whatever option you choose, it’s important to know that there are suggested best practices for taking blood pressure. There are many things that contribute to the accuracy of a blood pressure reading and keeping them all in mind can be a task.  However, by following a few simple steps, you can all but ensure that your reading is as close to accurate as possible.

Step 1: Set the Mood

And we don’t mean dimming the lights and putting on soft jazz.  We mean, to get the most accurate reading, the patient needs to be relatively at rest by sitting still for 3 -5 minutes, in a comfortable, supporting chair. Make sure their feet aren’t dangling unsupported. Make sure they are quiet, and that the room is a comfortable temperature. You may also wish to evaluate if they seem stressed or not, as stress can throw off readings pretty badly. Basically, make sure the patient is comfortable.

Step 2: Remove those Clothes

Woaaaahhh….we are only talking about your shirt sleeve!  It doesn’t seem like it would do a lot, but having the patient’s clothing under the blood pressure cuff can throw off systolic pressure readings by as much as 50mmHg. Have the patient roll up their sleeve, and make sure you are putting the cuff in an unobstructed area, directly on the arm.

Step 3: And Get It On

Come on…we mean get on the blood pressure cuff!  One of the easiest factors you can control is also one of the easiest to overlook. Blood pressure cuffs have an arm circumference range they work best for...in other words, there aren’t just one size fits all for the cuff.  Using them outside of that range can seriously sway a test reading. This works in either direction, whether the cuff is too small or too large. It seems like this would be an easy thing to notice, but it can be quite difficult. If there is any doubt, take the time to measure the patient’s arm circumference, so you can get the most accurate reading.

There are other factors that can affect the test, but those are mostly patient controlled. There will always be some margin of error, but using these simple steps, you can do your best to minimize it and get a more accurate reading than not. 


How an Automated BP Device Can Help Your Practice July 09 2014

In the typical medical practice, it is very likely that you will see a Blood Pressure monitoring device in the exam room.  And can you ever remember an office visit where your blood pressure was not taken?  Highly unlikely since Blood Pressure is one of the most common vital signs measurements, as important as a patient’s weight.  Taking many blood pressure readings each day, both nurses and physicians have become masters of the craft.  But ask yourself a few questions about the last time your blood pressure was taken…were you asked to stay perfectly still?  Were you asked how long you have been off of your feet in a siting position?  Were you asked to roll up your shirtsleeve or was the cuff placed over your shirt?  Were you fitted first to make sure the cuff being used best fit your arm size? 

Despite best training and the most opportune circumstances, it can be plain old difficult to get an accurate readings.  That is why automated blood pressure devices, like the ADC E-Sphyg 2 Blood Pressure Device and the Welch Allyn Connex ProBP Blood Pressure Device have become more and more popular in recent years. Welch Allyn Connex ProBP Blood Pressure DeviceAutomated blood pressure devices at one time were found only in pharmacy waiting areas, but no more as there are many various sizes and styles.  An automated blood pressure unit can allow medical personnel and patients to have a more meaningful interaction during the taking of patient vitals. They provide accurate, repeatable testing, and take the difficulty out of taking BP measurements. Arguably most importantly, they allow the physician to spend more time talking to the patient, and less time taking readings.

Manual blood pressure devices do have their positives. They generally cost much less than an automatic unit. They allow for a greater degree of finesse and operator discretion in the administration of the test. They don’t require retraining of medical personnel. They often take up much less space in the examination room. Manual machines certainly have their place, but if you think that an automated machine’s benefits outweigh those of a manual unit, it is a great investment in your practice.