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Sphygmomanometers: A History Revealed

Mar 18, 2008
The word sphygmomanometer is an enormously large word that has an even larger purpose. While most people may not have heard the term sphygmomanometer in their everyday conversations, chances are good everyone has encountered a sphygmomanometer. A sphygmomanometer is what we commonly refer to as a blood pressure meter.

The purpose of a sphygmomanometer is to measure the blood pressure of an individual. But how exactly does a sphygmomanometer work, and when did they first come into use?

Sphygmomanometers consist of two words: syphygmos and manometer. Syphygmos is the Greek word for "pulse", and manometer is the scientific term for "pressure meter". Therefore, sphygmomanometer is roughly translated to mean "pulse pressure meter".

A sphygmomanometer works by restricting the blood flow usually to the left arm at heart level. Once the pressure is allowed to return, a stethoscope is utilized to hear for where the pulse can be heard from and when that pulse again vanishes. This is considered the blood pressure.

The number where the whooshing of the blood can be heard at the beginning gives a number that is considered the systolic, and when the whooshing of the blood stops, that number is considered the diastolic. As is evident, sphygmomanometers are an extremely important part of our history as well as our daily lives.

The modern day sphygmomanometer was not introduced until about 1901, but in 1733, there was a Reverend Hales that made the first official record of a successful blood pressure. The first recorded blood pressure was not on a human and was rather barbaric in nature, but the horse that was used in this highly inappropriate procedure in its day helped forge new grounds.

In reality, the first human blood pressure was not recorded until around the year 1847. This was accomplished via catheters that were placed directly into a main artery. This was almost as intrusive as the procedures used by Reverend Hales upon the equine creatures.

Today, sphygmomanometers have progressed into a vital part of our medical and healthcare industry. There is a lot to be told by recording and understanding an individual's blood pressure.

The sphygmomanometers of today are an exquisite piece of medical equipment capable of providing insight that would otherwise go unnoticed. The stethoscope is another piece of medical equipment that is often thought of in conjunction with the sphygmomanometer. Indeed, the stethoscope and the sphygmomanometer do have a close relationship through history.

There are three types of sphygmomanometers today: the digital sphygmomanometer, the mercury manometer, and the mechanical sphygmomanometer coupled with an aneroid manometer. Each has their benefits, and the mercury manometer is often called the "king" of sphygmomanometers for accuracy and comfort. The results tend to be more accurate with less intrusion but more work.

One company providing exceptional sphygmomanometers for medical or healthcare professional is Prestige. Prestige medical equipment has a reputation for excellence in quality and materials. Of course, when medical or healthcare professional expect the best, the choice will be made on company policies as well as personal preference.
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