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What does the korotkoff sound mean to us?

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01/24/2009

CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE Korotkoff sounds are certain specific sounds heard when the arteries decompress and move the blood along them. They were invented by a Russian professor - Nikolai Korotkoff in the early 20th century during the 1st world war and remain the best ausculatory way to measure arterial blood pressure. When an artery is totally compressed, no sounds can be heard at all as no blood is moving. As the artery is slowly decompressed, certain sounds are heard which indicate a way of judging the level of pressure in the artery. In order to slowly decompress the artery we need to use an inflatable sphygmomanometer cuff and a stethoscope. The cuff is pumped up until no sound can be heard. Then the cuff is slowly deflated and the sounds occur: They occur in four stages : silence-tapping-thumping-muffled-silence again when the cuff is fully deflated and the artery is completely unobstructed. When the first sound is heard - the tapping, the reading on the sphygmomanometer is taken to be systolic pressure. The moment all the sounds disappear and you are left with silence again, the reading on the sphygmomanometer is taken as diastolic pressure. This is the way by which your blood pressure will always be taken at your local GP or health clinic. The standard BP is 120/80 which is systolic/diastolic. However it is likely that people will have blood pressure values of near that value and still be perfectly healthy.