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Clinical Laboratory Test:
vital signs — blood pressure

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Description

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is one of the vital signs that is routinely measured in a clinical setting.

The most common method for obtaining a patient's blood pressure is through a sphygmomanometer, which is a device that consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit, and a stethoscope. The cuff is placed around the patient's upper arm and inflated until it is snug. The stethoscope is then placed over the brachial artery in the patient's arm and the pressure in the cuff is slowly released. As the pressure is released, the patient's blood pressure is measured in two numbers: the systolic pressure (the higher number) and the diastolic pressure (the lower number).

The systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood out of the heart. The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes and refills with blood. The two numbers together are referred to as the patient's blood pressure.

Synonyms
  • BP
Some Diseases Associated with an Abnormal Blood Pressure
Detailed Laboratory Testing Information (use the custom search buttons below to find details on these topics)

All of the following must be considered when interpreting clinical findings and are too extensive to be covered on this site: