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The blood pressure machine is a device for measuring blood pressure. The machine is composed of two main parts, the inflatable cuff for restricting the flow of blood and the mechanical manometer (or mercury manometer) for measuring the pressure. The device is always used together with another device that can determine the pressure level at which blood flow begins and the pressure at which the flow gets impeded. Normally, manual blood pressure meters are used in combination with stethoscopes. Blood pressure is recorded in millimeters of mercury (also mmHg). Technically, the blood pressure measuring device is called sphygmomanometer.
Types of Blood Pressure Machines:
There are four kinds of blood pressure machines; the mercury machine and the manual machine are however the most popular. Manual machines require stethoscopes for auscultation. They can only be operated by thoroughly trained practitioners and cannot be used effectively in extremely noisy environments because characteristic sounds will not be heard clearly. In noisy settings, the basic reading can be obtained by palpation, but the recorded value would only be systolic pressure.
The mercury machine is classified as the gold standard, and measures the pressure of blood directly. The user only needs to observe the height of the mercury column and read the value. The machine is not affected by calibration errors except if the scale markings are wrong. Due to their high precision and accuracy, the machines are recommended for pressure determination in clinical evaluations involving high risk patients such as pregnant women, and in pharmaceutical clinical trials.
The aneroid (dial up mechanical devices) machines are also common, but require frequent calibration checks. They are, however, safer than mercury-based blood pressure machines. Digital pressure machines are still rare in practice.
One of the best blood pressure monitors on the market is the OSCILLA ™ Automatic Digital Blood Pressure Monitor Model 850
The OSCILLA™ is a fully-automatic digital blood pressure measurement device that delivers fast, reliable measurements of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as pulse frequency. Using OSCILLA™, you can quickly and easily check your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home. The easy-to-use design also stores up to 18 prior measurements with averages so you can track your blood pressure readings over time. Plus, the new OSCILLA™ InflateRead™ technology cuts measurement time by 40%, so just a few minutes a day can make the difference. It come with a full two-year warranty and is latex free.
The digital gadgets use electronic calculations and oscillometric measurements, and not auscultation, to record the pressure, and may either use automatic or manual inflation. Digital pressure machines are electronic, can work in extremely noisy environments, and require no training to operate. The digital meters also display pulse rate and determine both diastolic and systolic pressures.
How to Operate Blood Pressure Machine:
In human patients, the meter's cuff in placed snugly and smoothly around the upper arm. The meter should be placed roughly at a similar vertical height as that of the heart on a subject who is seated, and on the supported arm. The cuff should be of the correct size for the patient because too small cuffs cause rises in pressure while too large cuffs reduce the pressure. For this reason, clinicians will usually measure and record the pressures of both arms of their patients during consultations in order to gauge whether the pressures in the two arms would differ. If the difference is around 10mmHg, the clinician would suspect co-arctation of the patient's aorta. The higher reading, for arm pressures that are different, is the most valuable in future measurements. The cuff must usually be inflated till the artery gets completely occluded.
Manual measurement is more extensive. It involves the use of a stethoscope (auscultation) to detect the pressure where blood flow begins in the brachial artery (systolic pressure), and releasing the cuff pressure till no sound is heard (diastolic pressure). Auscultation cannot be used in noisy emergency environments, and physicians only read systolic blood pressure by releasing the cuff pressure till they palpate radial pulses. Digital meters allow easier reading of the pressure.
Significance of Blood Pressure Meter:
Measuring of blood pressure is important in diagnosis and management of a number of health disorders, including hypertension. The blood pressure machine is therefore indispensable equipment in the health sector.