How To Take A Manual Blood Pressure

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In this video, I'm going to break down and go through with you how to take a manual blood pressure.

Shout out to pinkcubs1, who commented on my YouTube video, suggesting that I make a video on how to take a manual blood pressure.

This one is for you.

Guys, if you are like me, a nurse or just into all things nursing, consider subscribing to my channel, 'cause I have a lot of nursing stuff coming your way.

And if this video is helpful to you or you like it or whatever, please give it a thumbs up.

Now, let's get into the video.

Okay, so what you're going to need now in making a manual blood pressure is of course, a stethoscope, and a manual blood pressure cuff, with a sphygmomanometer on it.

Very hard word to say there.

Here we go.

One of those, so first thing you're going to want to do is find the brachial artery.

And finding that is on your elbow or your antecubital fossa, and go in the middle and midline right there.

I can feel it straight away. I can see my fingers bounding and I can feel it bounding.


Right arm, midline, middle of your elbow, and go in.

There it is.

Easy to find in healthy people, but in overweight people, elderly people it's harder to find, and what I normally do is I take my stethoscope, put it in the middle, move it to the side a little bit, so this right here is the sphygmomanometer, and I'm only going to say that once this video, 'cause it's a really hard word to say, and I'm just going to call this the dial from now on.

And it goes from 20 to 300.

Now, the textbook would tell you to pump the bulb up to about 10-20 millimeters of mercury above the expected systolic.

Now, we're not psychics, we can't just say, "Yeah, your blood pressure's going to be 120, so there's a way that you can expect the systolic and the way you would do that is to find the radial pulse, which is right here.

There it is and have a straight arm.

There it is, and you would pump the bulb up and when you don't feel the pulse anymore, that is the estimated systolic value.

Then, when you release it, when you feel the pulse again, that'll be the expected again, so you can do it both ways.

All right, so that's how you would do it.

Then you would go 10-20 above that, so I'm had my brachial pulse here, and I was pumping the bulb, and at 130, I couldn't feel it anymore here, that's my expected systolic.

Then, again, if I release the bulb and I started feeling the pulse here again at 130, again, that is the expected systolic.

All right, so this is the bulb.

This is the pressure valve control, and you'd hold it in your right hand, if you're right-handed. Left, if you're left-handed.

And it opens and closes.

Now, it is closed towards you.

This was hard for me to understand when I started doing blood pressures.

I had it open, kept pumping and I was like, "Oh, nothing's happening.

Nothing's happening." Well, nine times out of 10, I had it open, so it takes a while, but now I always have it closed and I remember this by closed towards me, open away. Okay?

Now, it's closed towards me and that's all the parts of the blood pressure cuff.

Obviously, you have the actual blood pressure cuff here.

My blood pressure cuff has got a little indicator for the artery, and for the left arm and the right arm.

You would line it up with the brachial artery, so I've got it on my left arm and here it says, "Left arm."

And I've got it lined up here with my brachial artery.

And you go about two fingers above the crease of your elbow, and that's how you know you've got the cuff in the right spot, so taking a blood pressure is a visual and audio assessment, so you'll need both your stethoscope and your eyes to have a look at the dial.

Okay, so what you would do, put your stethoscope on, put it here on the brachial, 'cause you found in before.

Now, I don't have enough arms, so I'm just going to see if that stays just about there and then the pressure valve, push it towards you to have it closed.

And then let's say my expected systolic is 120, so I'm going to pump it up to 140, and then I'm going to release it very slowly and then the first boosh that I see and hear is my systolic.

And the boosh that I see and hear is the diastolic.

Now, remember you can sometimes see the little tick go like that, but you're not actually hearing it.

That's not your systolic.

It's when you hear it and see it.

All right? So close that. I'll pump it up to 140.

Release it slowly.


I can see the dial go like this, and obviously, I can't tell what my blood pressure is, 'cause I'm not actually listening to it, but those are the steps you would go through.

Okay, so now that we know how we're going to do the blood pressure, what to listen out for. I'm going to show you how to do it on a patient.

Okay, so now we're going to take a blood pressure on my patient, who today looks a lot like my husband.

Hey guys.

Nice enough to volunteer today.

Okay, so first off we need to estimate his systolic blood pressure.

By doing that, we need to feel for his radial artery, radial pulse, which is just down there.

There it is.

Nice and strong.

And what you do is close your pressure valve towards you, close the valve, feel for the radial pulse here, so pump it up.

Look at the dial.

When you can't feel the radial pulse anymore is the expected.

That's about 105, I can't feel the pulse anymore.

Pump up a little bit more, release.

When you feel the radial pulse again, is his also expected systolic, that came up a little bit lower at about 90, so I can sort of guesstimate it's going to be between 90 and 110, so I'm going to pump it up 10-20 millimeters of mercury above my expected systolic.

So I'm going to pump it up to about 130, okay? I'll close the valve towards me, closed, find the brachial pulse right there, put your stethoscope there, right there and then you pump it up.

We're going to pump it up to about 130, and then we're going to release the pressure valve very slowly and we're going to look at the dial and the little tick and it's going to go, "Boof. Boof. Boof."

The first boof that you hear is your systolic.

The last boof that you hear is your diastolic, okay?

So you've got to look, and listen.

All right. Here we go.

Up to 130, release slowly, boof, boof, boof.


So I heard the first boof at 100 and the last boof I could hear was about 62, so my patient's blood pressure is 100/62.

I hope this video has given you a little bit more confidence and understanding in the manual blood pressure.

It's not an easy thing, but once you get it, it's going to get much easier from here.

Now, if you have any questions, pop them in the comments below, or even better if you have any video suggestions that you would like me to do, pop them in the comments below as well and I will make sure to get back to all of you.

And guys, remember as always, listen with your heart.

My husband who is a non-medical person is now going to try and take my blood pressure.

He's a little bit nervous.

Can you tell.

I don't know what I'm doing.

Nurse Jenny


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Jenny, RN is a Registered Nurse working in Sydney Australia. She received her degree in 2013 in Sydney as an international student from Sweden and graduated with a Distinction. She has a passion for Nursing and helping other Nurses and student Nurses in the field, looking at life from the positive side and always giving back where possible. She is the Founder of Bjorn Hall Stethoscopes, a company she created when she saw a need for more personality in the workplace.

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