GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement. Doctor taking the blood pressure of a boy during a check- up. The doctor is pumping up a sphygmomanometer, wrapped around the boy's arm. The stethoscope (upper left) will be used to listen to blood flow. The sphygmomanometer consists of a pressure gauge and cuff that is inflated around the patient's upper arm until it stops blood flow. The cuff is slowly deflated until blood flow resumes and the pressure shown on the gauge is the systolic pressure of the pumping heart. Further cuff deflation gives the diastolic pressure of the relaxed heart between pumps. Blood pressure is an important measure of bodily health.
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