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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

If blood pressure can now be checked electronically, why do nurses still need stethoscopes?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7846 points ) November 18th, 2012

I understand why doctors need the stethoscopes (to hear intricate sounds of the heart and lungs), but I thought that nurses just used them for blood pressure. But now there are machines that check blood pressure electronically…
Do nurses still carry around stethoscopes and use them?

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7 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Yes, we still need and use stethoscopes. Sometimes, the machines are unable to get a reading. Also, checking it manually is more accurate. We also use our stethoscopes for other things, like listening to your heart, lungs, and abdomen.

jerv's avatar

There have been times where electronic blood pressure machines have not been able to get a reading off of me. This was especially true in my younger days when my blood pressure was 5–10 points below healthy at the best of times. (A few times, it was so low that they wondered how I was even still conscious; 65/40!)

Lightlyseared's avatar

It probably depends on the nurse. I haven’t used one in years but then I spend most of today doing in vivo confocal laser microscopy so I’m probably not the right person to ask.

marinelife's avatar

Not all doctor’s offices have or use the electronic blood pressure monitors.

“Even though digital blood pressure monitors are easier too use, they are not typically the most accurate machine to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure numbers change on account of abnormalities, such as, an irregular heart beat or a change in the body’s movement. Accuracy also depends on the size of the cuff. If the cuff size is small and you have a large arm for whatever reason, the reading of systolic over diastolic will be wrong. And vice versa, if the cuff is too big and your arm is very thin, the reading will be inaccurate. It is imperative that the right cuff be used to obtain an accurate reading.”

E-How

srmorgan's avatar

There is nothing better for a good blood pressure reading than a properly trained professional.
The human ear detects changes in a manner far superior to the electronic devices that you use at home. I understand why some offices will use an electronic cuff, they are faster and take less effort but notice that they will still get your heart rate by taking your pulse. My dentist’s office takes my pressure using a wrist cuff but then the dental assistants have not been trained in taking a pressure reading.

A physician friend once showed me the proper way to take pressure. He inflated the cuff and then released the pressure about 5 points at a time, listening carefully. It took only about a minute but he explained that the more time you took at this the better the reading.

SRM

wundayatta's avatar

Frankly, I think the electronic blood pressure monitors suck. They always get it wrong on me. I don’t know why they bother. I think it’s to make you feel like you are in the doctor’s office.

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