BP help please!

  1. Hey all,

    Well I'm feeling incompetent these days about BPs. I mean it's the end of the first quarter and I need to be skilled at these now. Here's the story...
    Yesterday, my mom's friend at work (non healthcare) took her BP digitally and it was 170/98 which worries us VERY much. A nurse at the Dr's office took her BP too and it was a similar reading. I took it last night and it was 140 systolic. Today at work her friend took it again and it was still 180 systolic. Today I took it and it was 160 systolic and diastolic was normal. Anyway, I'm worried about my mom and also that my readings are different from the nurse and her friend. I swear I am doing it right I mean I estimate systolic and do all that I'm supposed to do. I feel the radial pulse and where it goes away I pump up a little higher than that and do the whole process. I'm thinking maybe my cuff and the cuffs they're using are different sizes?
    Also, the meter on the aneroid is annoying. Like I felt for systolic and even after the pulse went away, the meter still bounced up and down. I mean the meter arrow bothers me because when I do BPs, the Korotkoff sounds always start AFTER the meter starts bouncing. But I go by the sounds I hear because after all, I'm using a stethoscope. I mean if we could use the bouncing meter as a marker, we wouldn't need stethoscopes for BPs would we.
    Anyway, I'm feeling a little upset about this...my mom is going to the Drs. tomorrow and will see what's going on. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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    About zacarias

    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 1,352; Likes: 83
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 14 year(s) of experience in tele, stepdown/PCU, med/surg


  3. by   StudentSandra
    Zach, try not to worry about it so much. There are many variables, like you said the size of the cuff, wheather or not the person has been active or upset, etc. And yes, go by the sounds not the bounce. Also, practice, practice,practice, I've been taking B/P's for 25 years, you just have to keep doing it & then you will get the hang of it. I never have done the feeling of the pulse along with the B/P. I just start out baseline pumping up to about 190, if I hear sounds as soon as I start letting the air out, I just retighten & pump it up a little more.

    Good luck
  4. by   Joshua21
    Try taking the pressure with the same cuff, in the same position (lying, sitting or standing), at the same time in the morning and at night for a week or so and record the numbers. With bp's, especially as an out patient, trends are more important than individual numbers (within reason).