What instrument measures blood pressure?

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They call it a Sphygmomanometer. (Sphyg mo manometer.) The word derives from the Greek for pulse, Sphyg. and Manometer for a pressure meter.

For traditional reasons, the pressure is still measured in the equivalent height of a column of mercury. Which is what was used originally in the manometer. inHg (Inches of mecury)

The sphygmomanometer works by balancing air-pressure in an inflated cuff against the pulse pressure in the arm. A pressure gauge attached to the cuff indicates the pressure. The cuff is placed on the upper arm and then inflated. The pulse is listened to, using a stethoscope. The point at which the pulse can no longer be heard, is when the pressure of the cuff cuts off the blood supply and gives the upper reading, called the systolic.

Then the pressure of the cuff is slowly released and the pulse listened to.
The lowest pressure when the pulse can no longer be heard, is the Diastolic.
This gives the two pressures of the heart, during a beat, at maximum pressure and when relaxed.

These functions can be built into a machine, which uses a microphone to listen and an electric pump to control the cuff pressure. The computer displays the result on an LCD screen.

The device was invented by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch in 1881. Scipione Riva-Rocci introduced a more easily used version in 1896. Harvey Cushing discovered this device in 1901 and popularized it.
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