Measuring Blood Pressure
This skill unit will teach you how to take oscillometric and palpation blood pressure measure-
ments on a baby.
Study this skill unit, then attend a skill practice and demonstration session.
To master the skill, you will need to demonstrate each of the following steps correctly. At least one
of the blood pressure measurement techniques needs to be demonstrated on 3 different babies.
Oscillometric Blood Pressure Measurement
1. Select cuff. Two different criteria for cuff size have been proposed. Either should result in
approximately equal results.
a. Cuff that is 75% or greater of the limb circumference, and the cuff length should be at
least two-thirds of the length of the upper limb.*
b. A bladder width that measures approximately 40 percent of the upper arm
Note that the recommendations above are referring to the inflatable bladder,
and not to the fabric that may be used to encase the bladder.
2. Set monitor to manual mode; set monitor for automatic mode and determine cycle time.*
3. Position cuff around baby’s arm or leg.
4. Activate operation of the machine or oscillometric blood pressure mode on the cardiac
5. Record baby’s systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure.
6. Set alarm limits for a speciﬁc baby (when automatic mode used),† as appropriate.
Palpation Blood Pressure Measurement
1. Select cuff.
2. Wrap cuff around the baby’s arm or leg.
3. Connect gauge to cuff; check to see that the gauge reads zero.
4. Palpate artery; inflate cuff.
5. Release cuff pressure at an appropriate rate.
6. Determine when arterial pulsation ﬁrst occurs; deflate cuff.
7. Record palpation blood pressure.
*Graphs shown in this unit used these criteria.
†Automatic mode will not be used for all babies. It is most useful for babies who require frequent blood pressure
measurements. You will need to know how to obtain oscillometric measurements in manual and automatic mode.