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Reischl studies effect of arm size on blood pressure readings

Could the size of your arm influence your blood pressure readings? According to School of Public and Population Health Professor Uwe Reischl, the answer is “yes.”

SPPH Professor Uwe Reischl
Uwe Reischl

Reischl’s research addresses a long-standing issue in blood pressure measurement, namely, the impact of upper arm circumference and cuff size on pressure readings. Using an upper arm simulator, Reischl established a 99% linear correlation between changes in upper arm circumference, coverage by a sphygmomanometer pressure cuff (blood pressure cuff) and subsequent changes in pressure readings. Reischl identified an adjustment factor that permits comparison for readings obtained using different cuff sizes relative to different upper arm dimensions.

Applying these finding to practice on nineteen human subjects, Reischl’s research demonstrated that a 1% change in upper arm circumference coverage resulted in a 1mmHg pressure change in both systolic and diastolic readings. This research suggests that healthcare providers could now simplify blood pressure measurements in clinical setting by only using a single sphygmomanometer pressure cuff for all adult patients and adjusting the resulting readings to the patient’s upper arm circumference.

Reischl’s research has important implications for healthcare providers and patients alike, as it provides a simple solution to the issues associated with blood pressure measurements taken with different sphygmomanometer cuff sizes.

Learn more about Reischl’s research published in the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health.