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A sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure monitor, is a device that measures blood pressure. A necessary assessment for medical professionals in preparation for surgery, or as a determination of over-all health, blood pressure should be monitored, particularly if high blood pressure is a risk. There are three general options available when selecting a sphygmomanometer.

A manual sphygmomanometer is used by a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse or paramedic who has been trained to acquire the systolic pressure. A stethoscope is necessary in order to use a manual sphygmomanometer. An aneroid sphygmomanometer is commonly used, and is mechanical in nature. They do require frequent calibration to ensure accuracy, so they are generally mounted to a wall or on a stand.

A mercury sphygmomanometer is the most popular blood pressure monitor, as it is the most accurate manual option. It determines blood pressure by affecting the height of the level of mercury in the gauge. It doesn’t require calibration, so a strong option for the field.

A digital sphygmomanometer doesn’t require a stethoscope, because it determines blood pressure with pressure sensors and electronic calculations. They are able to calculate both systolic and diastolic and some feature the ability to determine pulse rate. They also may have the option of testing on the arm, the wrist or on a finger. Because they are digital, these sphygmomanometer need frequent maintenance and calibration to ensure accuracy.

A sphygmomanometer is an essential device in determining overall health and discovering indicators of heart trouble. A manual sphygmomanometer is the best option for a trained professional, but there are sphygmomanometers available for a home-user for reliable testing. When reviewing, make sure you selecting the sphygmomanometer to best suit your needs.