What is a Sphygmomanometer?
Sphygmomanometer is the scientific term for blood pressure meter. It is a device used to measure blood pressure. The term sphygmomanometer came from the Greek word sphygmós which means pulse. The original Sphygmomanometer was invented in 1881 by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch. But the blood pressure monitor became poplar when Harvey Cushing discovered it in the year 1901.
Parts of a Sphygmomanometer
Many of you might have seen the blood pressure monitor with cuff which can be inflated, a measuring unit (the mercury manometer) and inflation bulb with which the examiner will inflate the cuff. Modern digital blood pressure monitors are equipped with automatic inflation and digital readings.
How Sphygmomanometer Works?
Sit on chair with your arm supported and relaxed. The examiner will place the cuff around the arm almost at the same level of your heart. Next, the cuff will be inflated to restrict blood flow until the artery is completely occluded. In case of electronic blood pressure monitors the device will automatically inflate and release the pressure and provide the blood pressure readings.
In case of manual blood pressure meters the examiner might use stethoscope in conjunction with the sphygmomanometer. The examiner will slowly release the air pressure in the cuff while listening to the brachial artery at the elbow with the help of a stethoscope. When the blood stars flowing again in the artery the examiner can hear a pounding sound and the reading will be noted at this point as well as when the Korotkoff sound stops completely. You can read the values of the blood pressure on the mercury column in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The peak pressure in the arteries during the cardiac cycle is known as the the systolic pressure, and the lowest pressure is the diastolic pressure.
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