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How to calibrate an electronic blood pressure measuring device?

Tuesday, 11 January 2005
Answered by: Dr. U. Kaul
Director, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology,
Batra Hospital,
New Delhi
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Q. How can one calibrate the electronic blood pressure measuring device?

A.  The most practical way is to periodically (say once in 3 months) measure the BP by the electronic machine and follow it up with taking reading by the traditional time tested mercury sphygmomanometer in quick succession. Taking 5 readings sequentially by both the instruments and then averaging the values of readings taken by the electronic machine and the mercury instrument is a good method. If the average of the readings for both the systolic and diastolic pressure are within 5 mms of each other (as taken by the different instruments), the electronically taken readings are dependable. I do not think it is easy to re-calibrate the readings of an electronic machine. If it has a problem (which is not uncommon), the best thing is to contact the supplier. The gold standard for measuring blood pressure is the mercury manometer.

A.  The most practical way is to periodically (say once in 3 months) measure the BP by the electronic machine and follow it up with taking reading by the traditional time tested mercury sphygmomanometer in quick succession. Taking 5 readings sequentially by both the instruments and then averaging the values of readings taken by the electronic machine and the mercury instrument is a good method. If the average of the readings for both the systolic and diastolic pressure are within 5 mms of each other (as taken by the different instruments), the electronically taken readings are dependable. I do not think it is easy to re-calibrate the readings of an electronic machine. If it has a problem (which is not uncommon), the best thing is to contact the supplier. The gold standard for measuring blood pressure is the mercury manometer.

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