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EMS Vascular Access Tips

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EMS Vascular Access Tips



Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Blood Pressure Assessment

"I am not sure, I think I heard 160/80 or something like that," the new first responder said to me. When we got back to the station, I gave him these tips for blood pressure auscultation.

1. Check the patient's radial pulse so you know the rate and rhythm you will be hearing.

2. Bare the patient's arm.

3. Don the stethoscope with the ear pieces angled forward — the same direction as your ear canals.

4. Apply the BP cuff snuggly to the patient’s bare arm — over the bicep, not the antecubital space.

5. Straighten the patient's arm to bring the brachial artery closer to the surface of the skin.

6. Know the location of the brachial artery as it passes through the antecubital space (this pulse should be palpable at the anterior aspect of the elbow).

7. Place the stethoscope where you palpated the brachial artery.

8. Don't place the stethoscope under the cuff — this is not TV.

9. After inflating the cuff look away from the sphygmomanometer (the thing with the numbers).

10. Deflate the cuff slowly until you hear the pulse — then look for the systolic blood pressure number.

11. You know the rest …

If you can't hear anything, try the patient’s other arm. If that doesn't work, assess blood pressure by palpation. Share your blood pressure auscultation and palpation tips and tricks in the comments area.


About the author

Greg Friese is the Director of Education for CentreLearn Solutions, LLC. He is also an e-learning designer, writer, podcaster, presenter, paramedic, and marathon runner. Read more from him at the EverydayEMSTips.com blog. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.
Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EMS1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Kris Pearson Lippert Kris Pearson Lippert Monday, February 20, 2012 12:14:56 PM great info.
Rishi Gupta Rishi Gupta Thursday, May 17, 2012 7:40:35 PM Greg, here's a new link, to a blood pressure simulator (online) with 28 case studies. Kind of fun to use for practicing http://www.practicalclinicalskills.com/.