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Recording and Measuring the Blood Pressure

Blood pressure or BP is considered as one of the most important vital signs that indicate the well-being of patient. Fluctuations in the blood pressure (BP) indicate that patient is suffering from some disease and requires immediate medical attention. Doctors advice that this vital sign must always be observed so that the right course of treatment can be given to the patient. Before measuring the blood pressure, ensure that the equipments that you are going to use are clean and sterilized.

Procedure to Measure the Blood Pressure

  • Start with washing your hands properly. Use antiseptic soap and lukewarm water for this purpose.
  • Ensure that you are using the correct method to measure the BP. Allow the patients to extend their arms towards you. Then drape the blood pressure cuffs around their arm, slightly above their elbow.
  • Find the brachial artery, which is present at the place where elbow bends. You must position the stethoscope bell over the artery.
  • Hold the bulb of the blood pressure instrument and start pumping it. When you pump, the needle of the dial on the instrument will move due to air pressure. You must stop pumping when the needle comes between 150 – 180 mg.
  • Release the bulb slowly; this will lower the blood pressure. Listen to the heartbeat of the patient.
  • Hear the pulse and see the meter reading on dial. Note it down. This reading is called the systolic pressure.
  • Continue listening to the pulse till it fades completely. Note the last reading. This is called the diastolic pressure.
  • Both these readings are called as blood pressure and are normally written as systolic/diastolic.
  • You must clean the equipments (stethoscope and BP instrument) after use, by antibacterial wipes.
  • Wash your hands properly after the procedure is completed.

What examiner notices when you practice this skill?

The examiner notices and observes every activity very carefully. Here is a list of a few things that you must keep in mind while performing this activity:

  • Whether you wash your hands with antiseptic soap and lukewarm water before demonstrating this skill.
  • If the ear-piece of the stethoscope has been cleaned for a clear and consistent reading.
  • If you have made the patient lie down or sit as per his/her convenience.
  • Whether the voice of radio or television is checked before taking the reading.
  • Whether you choose the right size of the blood pressure cuffs and wrap it on arms, just above the elbow.
  • Whether you apply the blood pressure cuffs directly over the skin.
  • Are you able to find the brachial artery and place your stethoscope directly over it?
  • If you properly inflate and deflate the blood pressure instrument bulb, and pump the cuffs to proper extent.
  • Whether you measure the pulse rate properly while deflating the cuffs of BP instrument.
  • It will be observed that if you deflate the cuffs in time.
  • Whether you take the readings again for accuracy of your earlier reading.
  • The evaluator will compare his result of blood pressure with the result of your measurement.
  • If you rinse your hands after the completion of this procedure.

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Expert’s Advice

  • Block all the outside noise before you start taking the reading.
  • Apply the cuffs of the BP instrument just above the elbow.
  • Apply the stethoscope to your ears perfectly.
  • Find the brachial artery precisely and measure with the help of stethoscope properly.
  • Systolic and diastolic counts must be measured correctly.
  • The blood pressure cuffs must be draped directly over the skin; there must not be any piece of cloth in between.