MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer graphics illustration of blood pressure measurement using a sphygmomanometer. The inflatable cuff (dark blue) is connected to a graduated mercury column. It is usually wrapped around the upper arm and inflated to exert pressure on the radial artery & stop the blood flow. The pressure is then released, and by listening to the pulse with a stethoscope it is possible to measure the systolic & diastolic pressures, which are read from the mercury scale. Systole is that part of the heart's cycle during ventricular contraction, whilst diastole refers to the period between successive beats.
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