Research Article

Defects in sphygmomanometers: an important source of error in blood pressure recording.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.6014.886 (Published 10 April 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:886
  1. S Conceiçao,
  2. M K Ward,
  3. D N Kerr

    Abstract

    Almost half the sphygmomanometers in a teaching hospital group had defects in the control valve which interfered with accurate blood-pressure reading. Ward staff should be taught to check sphygmomanometers regularly and replace control valves; time consumption and cost are low. The cuffs in general use in these hospitals, and of the standard size sold in Britain, had rubber bags which did not encircle the arm of more than half the patients on whom they were used. This deficiency causes over-reading of blood pressure in obese people. The size of error is uncertain but it should be avoided by adopting a cuff with a longer bag.