The #1 reason to use a large blood pressure cuff is that it is easy for larger people to get an incorrect blood pressure reading if they don’t use a large blood pressure cuff. In fact, it is reported that this is one of the most common problems faced by plus size men and women in medical care.
- A too-small cuff will give readings that are falsely high.
- A too-large cuff will give falsely low readings.
AHA Sizing Guidelines: Reason to Use a Large Blood Pressure Cuff
The guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that the length of the bladder of the cuff (the inflatable portion of the cuff) should be 80 percent of the arm’s circumference. The width of the bladder should be 40 percent of the arm’s circumference.
The three most commonly-used cuff sizes are large adult, regular adult and pediatric and will fit most patients. For larger arm circumferences, a practitioner may use an extra long cuff. The practitioner can receive an incorrect reading after taking the blood pressure on the patient’s forearm.
KMom, the online advocate for plus size moms, has compiled helpful charts to pinpoint the size blood pressure cuff you need. She also gives tips on how to work with medical personnel to make sure that your readings are accurate and helps you decide whether you should purchase your own cuff. Click here for KMom’s Importance of Large Blood Pressure Cuffs.