A stethoscope is placed over the artery at the elbow. As the pressure in the cuff is reduced, it will fall below that in the artery and a sound as the blood pulses through is heard through the stethoscope.

This records the systolic pressure. The same measurement can be taken by feeling the pulse at the wrist.

The recording of the diastolic pressure is still subject to disagreement. Some doctors record it when the sound in the artery is no longer heard; others record it when there is a change in the character of the sound as it becomes muffled before finally disappearing.

The recording machine may either have mercury in a tube or be of the aneroid type using a spring as in the aneroid barometer.

Machines are now available which record the sounds electronically. Recently, these and ordinary sphygmomanometers have been advertised and sold directly to the public.

I must say I do not approve of this. Not because I wish to preserve some mystique of the doctor, but because I believe that one needs special training to be able to interpret the results.


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