Vitals: Blood Pressure September 2023
Hey it's Blood Pressure Time!
Hello & welcome to ICI's Blog Post!
Taking a blood pressure becomes a lot easier the more you practice. Here at ICI's CNA program near Chicago, we provide hands on training during our lab sessions and clinical rotation. During these sessions, you will practice on fellow students, and live patients on the floor. Here are some tips on how to take a manual blood pressure.
Taking blood pressure is a straightforward procedure that involves using a sphygmomanometer, which consists of an inflatable cuff and a pressure gauge, along with a stethoscope. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take someone's blood pressure:
1. Sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff)
3. Pen and paper for recording the measurements
1. Prepare the Environment:
- Ensure that the person whose blood pressure you're measuring is relaxed and seated in a comfortable position with their feet flat on the floor and back supported. Make sure they have been resting for at least 5 minutes.
- The room should be quiet and free from distractions.
- Have all the necessary equipment ready.
2. Select the Appropriate Cuff Size:
- Choose a cuff size that fits the person's arm properly. The cuff should cover about 80% of the upper arm's circumference. If the cuff is too small or too large, it can lead to inaccurate readings.
3. Position the Cuff:
- Place the deflated cuff around the person's upper arm, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the elbow crease.
- Ensure that the cuff is snug but not too tight. You should be able to slide two fingers under the cuff easily.
4. Locate the Brachial Artery:
- Use the stethoscope to listen to the brachial artery, which is located on the inner side of the arm, just above the elbow crease. Place the stethoscope's diaphragm (the flat part) over the artery.
5. Inflate the Cuff:
- Close the valve on the bulb of the sphygmomanometer.
- Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb until the pressure gauge reads about 30 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) higher than the expected systolic pressure (the top number). This is typically around 180 mmHg.
6. Deflate the Cuff Slowly:
- Open the valve on the bulb of the sphygmomanometer slowly, allowing the air to escape from the cuff gradually.
- Listen for the first heartbeat sound, which is the systolic blood pressure. Note the reading on the pressure gauge when you hear this sound.
7. Continue to Deflate:
- Keep listening through the stethoscope for the heartbeat sounds.
- Note the reading on the pressure gauge when the heartbeat sounds stop. This is the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
8. Record the Measurements:
- Record both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.
- For example, "120/80 mmHg."
9. Release the Cuff:
- Release the remaining air from the cuff and remove it from the person's arm.
10. Repeat if Necessary:
- If the initial reading seems unusual or too high or low, wait a few minutes and repeat the measurement. It's essential to take an average of multiple readings for accuracy.
Remember that factors like stress, caffeine, physical activity, and the person's position can affect blood pressure readings. It's crucial to follow these steps carefully and to interpret the results in the context of the person's overall health and any specific instructions from a healthcare professional. If you're not experienced in taking blood pressure or have any doubts, please let us know for additional training!