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Blood Pressure - Definition

This is the pressure exerted by the blood on the arterial walls. Expressed in mmHG (milligrams of mercury).


Systolic BP

The force at which the left ventricle pumps the blood into the aorta is known as systolic pressure.

This force dissipates by the time the blood reaches the capillaries.


Normal parameters of systolic BP in adults

120mmHG but can vary.


Children 1-10yrs minimal systolic is calculated as follows:

80+(2xage in years)
example: 2yr old: 80+(2x2)=84
8yr old: 80+(2x8)=96


Diastolic BP

Between contractions the heart and blood vessels recoil in a resting phase.
The resulting lower pressure is called 'Diastolic Pressure'.


Normal adult diastolic pressure is:

80mmHG but can vary


Blood pressure is recorded as:

120 (systolic)
80 (diastolic)


Diastolic pressure in infants is:

about 50mmHG


Diastolic pressure at 1yr/2yr

about 60mmHG


Diastolic pressure at puberty

about 70mmHG


Abnormally High BP is called:

Hypertension (a sign the CV system is being overloaded)


Abnormally Low BP is called:

Hypotension (if BP is too low there is inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs)


Measuring BP

Select the most appropriate cuff for the patient.
Basic rule: The cuff should be on half to two thirds the size of the upper arm


Measuring BP

1. Locate the brachial artery.
2. Feel the radial pulse.
3. Place the cuff around the upper arm.
4. Inflate the cuff until the radial pulse can no longer be felt.
5. Use the stethoscope to listen to the brachial artery.
6. Listen as you slowly deflate the cuff.
7. 1st stage: no sound = no flow of blood.
2nd stage: intermittent noise = turbulent blood flow.
3rd stage: no sound = continuous blood flow
8. note the pressure reading at the point when you first hear a noise and then at the point when it stops. These two reading will be systolic and diastolic pressures.



Both the Systolic and Diastolic pressures.
Plus: Was the patient standing, sitting or lying down. Were there an other factors that might effect BP such as pain, drugs, anxiety, etc?


Taking BP in noisy environment

May not be possible to hear anything through the stethoscope SO: feel for the return of the radial pulse, note the pressure reading. This will be the systolic pressure (diastolic pressure cannot be palpated). Record on PRF as 'systolic BP palpated'