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How Do You Take Blood Pressure Reading in the Leg?

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
How Do You Take Blood Pressure Reading in the Leg?
How Do You Take Blood Pressure Reading in the Leg?

Blood pressure can be measured from any artery that runs the near the surface of the skin. The basic way of measuring blood pressure is to apply pressure (using an air-filled cuff) to the artery and listening to the blood as it courses through the arteries. Blood pressure is typically measured on the arms using the brachial artery, but in some cases this may be uncomfortable for the patient. In these cases, the blood pressure can be measured on the calf by listening to the posterior tibial artery.

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Step 1

Position the equipment. Securely wrap the blood pressure cuff around the calf, a few inches below the knees. Place the bell of the stethoscope under the blood pressure cuff, in the middle of the calf.

Step 2

Inflate the blood pressure cuff. Close the air valve (located above the inflating bulb) by turning it clockwise. Then, pressurize the cuff by squeezing the ball until the pressure is around 180, which you can determine by looking at the pressure gauge next to the cuff.

Step 3

Read the blood pressure. While listening using the stethoscope, slowly depressurize the cuff by opening the air valve. Open it just enough so that the pressure decreases gradually. While watching the gauge, note when you start being able to hear the pulse and when you stop being able to hear the pulse. The pressure at which you can start hearing the pulse is the systolic pressure, and the pressure at which you stop hearing the pulse is the diastolic pressure.

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