How a Blood Pressure Monitor Works
A cuff is placed around the patient’s upper arm and is inflated to cut off the blood flow to the rest of the arm. The pressure in the cuff is then released letting the blood flow again. The blood flow is measured when the pressure is released which is the maximum output pressure of the heart (systolic) and again when blood flow has returned back to a normal relaxed rate which is the minimum output pressure of the heart (diastolic).
If the systolic and diastolic numbers are too high, this indicates that the heart is working too hard. The ideal blood pressure reading of a healthy heart should be below 120 for systolic and below 80 for diastolic.
Types of Blood Pressure Apparatus
There are two main types of Blood Pressure devices available – Digital Blood Pressure Machines and Manual Sphygmomanometers.
Digital Blood Pressure Machines rely on oscillometric measurements and electronic calculations to determine blood pressure. Inflation of the cuff occurs automatically via a pump. There are three main types of Digital Blood Pressure Machines which are Professional, 24 Hour Ambulatory or Home Use models.
Manual sphygmomanometers use auscultation (via a stethoscope) together with a mercury or aneroid manometer to measure blood pressure. Inflation of the cuff occurs manually via pumping a bulb. Manual Sphygmomanometers come with either a Mercury or Aneroid manometer and are available in palm held, wall mounted, desktop or mobile base designs. Certain models are also “shock resistant”, such as the Welch Allyn DuraShock DS44 Aneroid Sphyg, which is one of the common concerns with using manual sphygs.
Manual vs Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor Accuracy
There is much debate as to what type of blood pressure device ensures the most accuracy. Whilst technology has come a long way, most doctors and nurses agree that manual sphygmomanometers offer the best accuracy. This is because Manual Sphygmomanometers directly measure blood pressure via a stethoscope and gauge whereas Digital Blood Pressure machines rely on a complex series of calculations to determine blood pressure. Digital Blood Pressure Machines are easier to use however and are better suited to clinical enviroments thanks to their quiet operating system.
Blood Pressure Monitor Prices
Blood Pressure Monitors vary greatly in price with Digital Blood Pressure Machines being more expensive than Manual Sphygmomanometers due to their more complex technology. Expect to pay between $110 – $3,000 for a digital machine and between $60 – $260 for a manual sphyg.
Our cheapest digital machine is the Omron Standard Blood Pressure Device retailing for $111.14 ex GST. Our cheapest manual machine is the ABN Aneroid Palm Held Sphyg retailing for $60 ex GST. More expensive models offer more features such as Bluetooth, calibration warranty, shock resistance and more lightweight/compact design.
Blood Pressure Monitor Brands
Marne Medical stock a range of blood pressure monitors that are available for sale in Australia. Omron is the most widely known and established brand name in the blood pressure market with the Omron HEM-907 Professional BP Monitor Kit being one of the best machines available having received a number of positive reviews from clinicians in Australia. Welch Allyn, ABN, Riester and QRS also manufacture quality blood pressure monitors and all are available for purchase from Marne Medical. Blood pressure cuffs and monitor stands are also available.
Hospital Grade Blood Pressure Monitors
Blood Pressure Monitors are used frequently in hospitals with the Welch Allyn ProBP 2400 Digital BP Monitor and the Welch Allyn ProBP 3400 Handheld BP Monitor being the most widely used model for medical professionals. 24 Hour Ambulatory Monitors are also available including the QRS Opti 24 Hour ABP Monitor, Welch Allyn ABPM 6100 and Welch Allyn ABPM 7100.
Blood Pressure Machines for Home
Some patients may wish to monitor their blood pressure regularly from the comfort of their own home. The most suitable apparatus for the home environment is a Digital Blood Pressure Monitor as it is the easiest for a non-trained professional to use.
We recommend the Omron Standard Blood Pressure Device for home use as it is cost effective and user friendly. The patient should bring their monitor into their GP and have it tested against their GP’s monitor to ensure accuracy. We also recommend that GP’s give their patients a thorough training session on how to use the device properly.
The sphygmomanometer was invented in 1881 by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch. The device’s name is derived from the Greek world “sphygmos,” which means “pulse,” and the scientific term “manometer,” which refers to a means of measuring pressure.