Peripheral vascular effects on auscultatory blood pressure measurement

Sina Y. Rabbany, Gary M. Drzewiecki, Abraham Noordergraaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Experiments were conducted to examine the accuracy of the conventional auscultatory method of blood pressure measurement. The influence of the physiologic state of the vascular system in the forearm distal to the site of Korotkoff sound recording and its impact on the precision of the measured blood pressure is discussed. The peripheral resistance in the arm distal to the cuff was changed noninvasively by heating and cooling effects and by induction of reactive hyperemia. All interventions were preceded by an investigation of their effect on central blood pressure to distinguish local effects from changes in central blood pressure. These interventions were sufficiently moderate to make their effect on central blood pressure, recorded in the other arm, statistically insignificant (i.e., changes in systolic [p<0.3] and diastolic [p<0.02]). Nevertheless, such alterations were found to modify the amplitude of the Korotkoff sound, which can manifest itself as an apparent change in arterial blood pressure that is readily discerned by the human ear. The increase in diastolic pressure for the cooling experiments was statistically significant (p<0.001). Moreover, both measured systolic (p<0.004) and diastolic (p<0.001) pressure decreases during the reactive hyperemia experiments were statistically significant. The findings demonstrate that alteration in vascular state generates perplexing changes in blood pressure, hence confirming experimental observations by earlier investigators as well as predictions by our model studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


  • Blood pressure
  • Heart
  • Monitoring
  • blood pressure
  • measurement
  • vascular pressures


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