Show Patients That Hypertension is a Pressing Matter

December 31, 2006

To demonstrate to hypertensive patientsthe effect of high blood pressureon the heart, have them wrap onehand around a partially inflated sphygmomanometercuff and close thevalve.

To demonstrate to hypertensive patientsthe effect of high blood pressureon the heart, have them wrap onehand around a partially inflated sphygmomanometercuff and close thevalve. Ask them to squeeze the cuff(at a rate of 1 squeeze per second)until the mercury column reachestheir systolic blood pressure. Explainthat this is how hard their heart ispumping. Then, to show how this compareswith a healthy heart, ask themto squeeze the cuff to 120 mm Hg. Theeffect is most dramatic for patientswith moderate to severe hypertension.
-- Rex H. Wu, MD
   New York