CLINICAL DO'S & DON'TS: Taking blood pressure accurately

November 2004 
Volume 34  Number 11
Pages 26 - 26
  PDF Version Available!


  • DO

  • DON'T



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    AN ACCURATE blood pressure (BP) reading is a key gauge of your patient's overall health. Have the patient sit quietly for 5 minutes, then take the reading with his arm supported at heart level.


    * Explain the procedure to the patient. Assess for factors that affect BP, such as medications, anxiety, and pain, or exercise, smoking, or caffeine consumption within the past 30 minutes.

    * Select an appropriate arm. Avoid an arm that's injured or painful or that has a fistula or an I.V. or arterial line. If the patient has undergone breast or axilla surgery, avoid the arm on that same side.

    * Select the appropriate cuff for his arm circumference. Extend the arm and support it at heart level with ...

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