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Blood pressure reflects the force of the heartbeat and the resistance of the arteries to the pumping action of the heart. *Systolic pressure represents the heart contraction. *Diastolic pressure represents relaxation of the heart. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). A blood pressure cuff and gauge (sphygmomanometer) is simply a way to measure the performance of the pump (heart) and the pipes (blood vessels). Stethoscope Devise for listening to internal sounds Steps for Measuring Blood Pressure Step One Positioning your Patient 1. Relaxed but not slouched having rested for 2 – 5 min. 2. Legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor 3. Arm placed on a table slightly flexed with palm upward 4. Upper arm should be at heart level Locate the Brachial Pulse With the patients resting on palm turned up, and the arm slightly bent at the elbow, place the first two fingers of your hand on the medial third of the crease of the elbow (antecubital fossa). Press firmly and hold for five seconds. *Remember this position. Step Three Fasten the thumb screw on the sphygmomanometer pump and …….. Step Four Rapidly inflate the cuff to 140 - 150 mmHg Step Five 1. 2. 3. Smoothly, slowly open the thumb valve and deflate the cuff at a constant rate of approx 2 mmHg per second (1 mark/sec) When you first hear a sound note the reading on the gage. That will be the systolic pressure. Continue the slow release of air – when you no longer hear heart sounds note the reading on the gage. This will be the diastolic pressure. A normal blood pressure rate is 120/80 mmHg When the cuff is inflated it is cutting off the blood flow. As the pressure in the cuff is released, blood starts to flow again and it can be heard in the stethoscope. The number at which the blood starts flowing is the measure of the maximum output of the heart (systolic reading). As the pressure continues to be released the sounds stop. That number indicates the pressure in the system when the heart is relaxed (diastolic reading).