Manual Blood Pressure Monitors

Written by Sarah Provost
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"Manual blood pressure monitors" is a term that can be interpreted in two ways. In their simplest form, manual monitors require the user to inflate and deflate the pressure cuff by means of a rubber squeeze bulb fitted with a release valve. The user must listen with a stethoscope to hear when heart sounds begin and end. The data is displayed on a dial.

Some digital monitors are also occasionally referred to as "manual" because they require the user to inflate the cuff. However, once inflated, the cuff is deflated at the proper rate automatically. Systolic and diastolic pressure is read by the machine rather than by the user, and the data is displayed on a screen.

Fully Manual Blood Pressure Monitors

The primary advantage of the fully manual monitors is that they are much less expensive than either the semiautomatic or fully automatic digital monitors. However, there are some important disadvantages. These monitors require a higher level of skill in the user. If the pressure in the cuff is released either too slowly or too quickly, the reading will not be accurate. Furthermore, people with hearing loss may not be able to detect the aural indications through the stethoscope.

The semi-automatic, or "manual digital" monitors solve both of those problems. There is no need for a stethoscope, since the machine uses sensors to measure the pressure. The cuff also deflates automatically at the proper rate. However, the user still needs to inflate the cuff by means of the squeeze bulb, which can be difficult for persons with arthritis or similar conditions. In those cases, the use of a fully automatic monitor is recommended.

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