General Question

jrpowell's avatar

When they take your blood pressure do they have to use the right arm?

Asked by jrpowell (40484points) August 24th, 2008

You know. With that thing that inflates. I just had mine taken about 20 times in three days and they always used my right arm. (granted, I had a IV in the left arm) But I can’t remember them ever taking it on my left arm on other trips to the doctor. Am I insane or is there a reason for a preference for the right arm. Would the results be the same on the left arm?

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16 Answers

PeterM's avatar

Not normally, no. Some medical issues could make that necessary, I suppose; if you had suffered damage which impaired the circulation in your left arm, for example.

Snoopy's avatar

In addition to what PeterM suggests….it is best to take it from the same arm at the same time of day to get the most reliable readings.

More likely however, it may have nothing to do w/ anything physical w/ the patient and more to do w/ habit and or convenience of the person taking your pressure. For example, when you go to your doctor all of the rooms are like set up identical or very similar. The BP cuffs might be stored on a certain wall, nearer one side of the table the patient is on and therefore always taken from the same arm.

andrew's avatar

I’ve definitely had blood pressure taken on my left arm. So. No.

Scrumpulator's avatar

I get it from both, it really depends on what side of the table the nurse comes to, your orientation to the room when they enter.

drhat77's avatar

you can get a blood pressure from a leg or pinky. if you’re IV was in the left arm, then the right arm would be most conveiniant

jrpowell's avatar

Thanks for the answers. My normal doctor uses my right arm too. I was just curious.

loser's avatar

I was told that the left arm is generally preferable.

Snoopy's avatar

This link also provides some reliable interesting info:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3027042

gailcalled's avatar

There are special cases (like me). I had 20 lymph glands removed from left armpit during a lumpectomy. Now I have to use right arm for blood draws, drips, and B/P due to danger of Lymphodema in left arm. (swelling because lymphatic system is damaged.)

Google if you want more info. A friend chewed a hang nail, got an infection and had an arm swollen to the size of an elephant’s leg. (She too had had lymph nodes removed.)

augustlan's avatar

JP: Have they ever figured out what was wrong with you? Are you doing ok now?

drhat77's avatar

i don’t think ANYONE will ever figure out what’s wrong with him. we’ll just all have to learn to tolerate him

shilolo's avatar

Tsk, tsk, drhat. What he needs is an infectious diseases evaluation… In truth, JP, in medical school you are taught to take the blood pressure in both arms so as to make sure that the reading you get is consistent.

wildflower's avatar

I’ve had it measured on either and occasionally both arms – most of the time I think it depends on which side is turned to the table where the thingy is….

brownlemur's avatar

And the word you’re looking for is sphygmomanometer.

gooch's avatar

I take BP in either arm of my patients

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