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Cardiol Clin. 2010 Nov;28(4):571-86. doi: 10.1016/j.ccl.2010.07.006.

Principles and techniques of blood pressure measurement.

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Center for Healthful Behavior Change, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, 10010, USA.


Although the mercury sphygmomanometer is widely regarded as the gold standard for office blood pressure measurement, the ban on use of mercury devices continues to diminish their role in office and hospital settings. To date, mercury devices have largely been phased out in United States hospitals. This situation has led to the proliferation of nonmercury devices and has changed (probably forever) the preferable modality of blood pressure measurement in clinic and hospital settings. In this article, the basic techniques of blood pressure measurement and the technical issues associated with measurements in clinical practice are discussed. The devices currently available for hospital and clinic measurements and their important sources of error are presented. Practical advice is given on how the different devices and measurement techniques should be used. Blood pressure measurements in different circumstances and in special populations such as infants, children, pregnant women, elderly persons, and obese subjects are discussed.

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