BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement. Doctor's hand measuring a woman's blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. The doctor is listening to the woman's blood flow using a stethoscope (end seen at upper left). The black cuff is inflated around the patient's upper arm until it stops the flow of blood in the main artery. The pressure is reduced until pulsing blood flow resumes. This pressure, read from the gauge at lower right, is the systolic pressure caused by the pumping heart. The cuff is then deflated until smooth blood flow resumes, giving the diastolic pressure of the relaxed heart between pumps. Abnormally high pressure (hypertension) can lead to heart failure.
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