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Oscillometric Method - Methods of Blood

Pressure Measurement
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Saturday, Dec 22 2007

A second type of noninvasive blood pressure measurement strategy, the oscillometric

method, also employs an occluding cuff. However, in contrast to the auscultatory
method, which relies on detection of Korotkoff sounds, the oscillometric method
operates by sensing the magnitude of oscillations caused by the blood as it begins to
flow again into the limb.

Typically, very faint blood flow oscillations begin to be detected as the air pressure in
the cuff coincides with SBP. As air pressure is slowly released from the occluding cuff,
the amplitude of these pulsatile oscillations increases to a point and then decreases
as blood flow to the limb normalizes. Although the oscillation with the greatest
amplitude has been shown to correspond reliably with mean arterial pressure (Mauck
et al., 1980), determinations of SBP, which are associated with a marked increase in
amplitude of oscillations, and DBP, which are associated with the point at which
oscillations level off, are often less accurate when compared with auscultatory
measures (Fowler et al., 1991).

Therefore, while oscillometric methods tend to overestimate SBP and underestimate

DBP (Maheswaran et al., 1988; Manolio et al., 1988), they can be useful for
determining accurate estimates of mean arterial pressure.

Larkin, K. T., Semenchuk, E. M., Frazer, N. L., Suchday, S., and Taylor, R. L.
Published with assistance from the foundation established in memory of Amasa Stone Mather of
the Class of 1907, Yale College.


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