Measuring the blood pressure- Dos & DONTs

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Besides a circadian variation in blood pressures, a lot of other factors may affect blood pressure measurement like – respiration, emotion, exercise, eating, conversation, ambient temperature, bladder distension, pain and talking/crying. Care should be taken to eliminate these as far as possible around time of a measurement.

In case of using oscillometer/digital readings, always take multiple readings, preferably discard the first reading as it is likely to be affected by the anxiety associated with the procedure and take the best of 2 most close readings.

In newborns, infants and young children BP should be measured at least 1 hour after feeding, while the child is sleeping or in awake but calm state.  A parents’ lap is the best place to keep the child calm and measure BP

In older children, a short period of rest, ideally 5 minutes is recommended before measuring BP. A period of 1 min should be given in between repeat readings.

Check following points as shown in the sketch below while measuring BP in older children/patients.

Next post: How to define hypertension in children

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