An evaluation of blood pressure measurement

W. B. Runciman, A. J. Rutten, A. H. Ilsley

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The accuracy of routine measurements by nursing staff of systemic arterial, central venous, pulmonary artery and pulmonary capillary wedge pressures was determined. There was a significant difference between direct mean arterial blood pressure measurements and routine indirect measurements by the nursing staff in the pressure range of 50-100 mmHg, whereas there was no significant difference between direct and indirect measurements, when indirect measurements were made by specially trained hypertension clinic personnel. However, there was a good correlation between direct and indirect measurements in each instance, indicating that changes in blood pressure could be adequately followed by both groups. Systems commonly used to measure blood pressure directly were tested. Limits in frequency response preclude the routine direct measurement of systolic or diastolic blood pressures. If direct systolic and diastolic pressure measurements are required, it is necessary to check the performance of the amplifier and recording system, attach the transducer to the patient, and determine and adjust, if necessary, the natural frequency and damping coefficient of each system before each measurement. However, it is suggested that a knowledge of systolic and diastolic pressure measurements seldom improves patient management, and if mean pressures are accepted, reliable routine measurements may be obtained by the nursing staff. The digital display of the systems tested may be accepted for mean arterial pressure, but for accurate mean central venous and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure measurements, it is neccessary to interpret the trace on a chart recorder; pulmonary artery pressure can often only be estimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-325
Number of pages12
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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