Instructor Preparation - Online Blended Part 1

156 videos, 8 hours and 35 minutes

Course Content

Blood Pressure Cuffs

Video 142 of 156
5 min 50 sec
Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

Understanding Blood Pressure Cuffs

Delving into the realm of blood pressure cuffs, let's explore the distinct features of two main types: the automatic sphygmomanometer and the manual sphygmomanometer.

Automatic Sphygmomanometer

Features and Usage

The automatic cuff, commonly seen today, is favoured for its speed and ease of use. Key characteristics include:

  • Positioned around the wrist.
  • Equipped with an on/off button.
  • Fitted with a velcro strap for secure fastening.
  • The wrist should be level with the heart during measurement.

Reading Blood Pressure

Once activated, the device automatically inflates, momentarily restricting blood flow. The readings are then displayed:

  • Systolic: The top, higher number.
  • Diastolic: The bottom, lower number.
  • Pulse Pressure: Difference between the two readings, indicating the heart's pressure with each beat.

It's crucial for the systolic reading to remain above 90.

Manual Sphygmomanometer

Accuracy and Positioning

Though requiring more skill and time, the manual cuff is often viewed as delivering superior accuracy. It's always positioned above the brachial artery on the left arm due to the aorta's leftward orientation. The left arm typically provides a more accurate reading than the right.

Measurement Process

The cuff features size indicators and a marking for the artery. Once securely fastened around the humerus:

  • Inflate the cuff using the attached bulb until the radial pulse disappears.
  • Deploy a stethoscope below the cuff to detect blood flow sounds.
  • The initial blood flow sound, aligned with the sphygmomanometer needle's first movement, gives the systolic reading.
  • Upon the sound's cessation and needle stability, the diastolic pressure is determined.

Proper cuff sizing and placement, along with a calm patient, are critical for accurate readings.


Blood pressure cuffs, whether automatic or manual, are invaluable tools in healthcare. Ensuring precise measurement and understanding their unique functionalities is key for optimal results.