Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Assessing Clients’ Blood Pressure

To view information about appropriate cuff sizing based on arm circumference click here.

➪ Practice Point:

  • The client should be seated comfortably for five minutes with the back supported and the upper arm bared without constrictive clothing. The legs should not be crossed.
  • The arm should be supported at heart level, and the bladder of the cuff should encircle at least 80% of the arm circumference (Pickering et al., 2005).
  • The mercury column should be lowered at a rate of 2 to 3 mmHg/sec, and the first and last audible sounds should be taken as systolic and diastolic pressure. The column should be read to the nearest 2 mmHg.
  • Neither the client nor the  observer should talk during the  measurement.
  • No smoking or nicotine in preceding 15-30 min.
  • No caffeine in the preceding hour.

To view recommended techniques for measuring blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope click here.

To view proper positioning of cuff for blood pressure assessment click here.

Chronic Disease
Nursing Management of Hypertension
Point of Care Resources