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How to Take a Blood Pressure 


Blood pressure measures the force applied against the walls of the arteries as blood is being pumped throughout the body. It is constantly changing as your activity, posture, emotional and physical state change. Other factors influence blood pressure such as temperature, diet, and medications.


1.   Ask your CLIENT to sit comfortably and relax.


2.   Wash your hands.


3.   Push the patient's sleeve up and wrap your deflated blood pressure cuff around the arm just above his elbow. Center the cuff bladder over the brachial artery and position the gauge so you can easily read it. Leave enough room to slide two fingers in between the arm and the cuff.


4.   Extend the arm and support it at heart level. Palpate for a brachial pulse over the brachial artery in the crook of the elbow.


5.   Insert your stethoscope earpieces into your ears and place the bell (or diaphragm) over the place you felt the brachial pulse.


6.   Close the bulb's thumbscrew by turning counter clockwise. Listen to the brachial pulse as you pump air into the cuff and rapidly inflate to 10mmHg above where you hear the last sound.


7.   Slowly open the thumbscrew on the bulb and allow 5mmHg/sec to drop. Watch the gauge and listen as the cuff deflates.


8.   Mentally note the pressure on the gauge when you hear the first clear sound. (This is the systolic pressure.)


9.   Continue Listening as the cuff deflates, and when you can no longer hear the pulse, record this number as the diastolic pressure.


10.   Then rapidly deflate the cuff. Wait 1 minute if you need to repeat your measurement to confirm.


11.   Write down your findings. Wash your hands.


12.   The systolic pressure represents the maximum pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts. The diastolic pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.


13.  Optimal blood pressure is considered less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic.


(SOURCE blood pressure info “GUIDE TO NURSING”

There is no substitute for hands-on experience! The old saying is true -- "Practice makes perfect"!

International Center for Traditional Childbearing
Midwifery Mentorship Program
Portland, Oregon