Proper Position For Blood Pressure Reading

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Blood Pressure, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I have read that the back and the arm should have support when a blood pressure reading is taken. Does it really make a difference?

 

Research has shown that the results of your blood pressure reading can be affected if your pressure is taken while you're sitting on an exam table without arm or back support, or while your feet are dangling instead of being on the floor. Standards adopted by the American Heart Association—and I agree with them—therefore call for patients to be:

  • Seated with their back supported
  • A bare arm should be resting on a table so that when the cuff is placed on the upper portion of that arm it is at "heart level"
  • Feet should be on the floor
  • The stethoscope bell—or sensor—should overlay the brachial artery, which is at the inside of the bend of your elbow, where a pulse can usually be found

Learn more guidelines to follow to get an accurate blood pressure reading.

WATCH: How to Properly Take Your Blood Pressure at Home


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