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Pre-med physics in practice

In Dr Peter Gott's (MD) sydicated column of 6/15/2001, a reader asked about
the proper vertical level of the (cuffed) arm during a blood pressure
measurement. His reply follows, and speaks for itself:

"It used to be said that the arm should be at heart-level during blood
pressure recording; in fact, the directions in most do-it-yourself BP kits
still suggest this position. In actual fact, however, the position of the
arm is probably inconsequential, providing that the patient is comfortable
and relaxed. Because the arterial circulation is basically a hydraulic
system, the pressure should be the same in arms and legs, regardless of

Bob Sciamanda (W3NLV)
Physics, Edinboro Univ of PA (em)