The Sphygmomanometer: How a Medical Assistant Uses It
A sphygmomanometer is used to measure an individual’s blood pressure. This is considered a key part of most medical exams. The results of the test indicate possible health problems or risks, and many types of health issues.
The typical sphygmomanometer is a manually operated device with an inflatable cuff. The cuff is placed by the health care provider around the upper arm. A rubber inflation blub is always attached to the cuff and inflated to perform the test. The objective is to increase the pressure in the cuff until the blood flow to the upper arm is restricted to the point of temporarily cutting it off.
The operator then slowly releases the air using a release valve connected to the cuff. Using a stethoscope over the main artery, the sound of rushing blood is listened for using the stethoscope. The sounds made by the blood in the artery are referred to as Korotkoff sounds.
The indicated numerical pressure on the dial when the first sound is heard is the systolic reading. The second sound heard is diastolic pressure, and is the pressure at which the blood resumes normal flow.
When doing this test using a sphygmomanometer, the test is most often done to determine the existence of hypertension. The existence of hypertension may be a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease and heart attacks.
Testing for hypertension is considered an invaluable test for the detection of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is regarded as being present in one out of three individuals by the American Heart Association®. Since there are often so symptoms associated with the existence of high blood pressure, this is considered one of the most valuable methods to determine if the condition exists.
Often, patients may go for years without ever being diagnosed for the condition, especially if routine trips to a physician aren’t typical. With the introduction of electronic, digital sphygmomanometers, testing can now routinely be performed in the home.
Think you would like to learn how to use a sphygmomanometer to perform the blood pressure test that can save a life? Medical assisting may be a good start. Find medical assistant training near you at HealthCareers.net today.