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What Are The Tonometers & How To Use Them?

By Author: Evan Murray
Total Articles: 3

Despite advances in modern medicine, many older people suffer from heart problems. Their symptoms cause discomfort, and if you do not pay attention to the disease and do not go to the doctor in time, you can die.

Therefore, it is necessary to be able to accurately and accurately determine your blood pressure and try to ensure that it is within the normal range.

To measure pressure, engineers developed special instruments — tonometers, of which there are quite a few varieties nowadays, and they are divided into two types — mechanical and electronic.

In turn, mechanical devices can be divided into 2 categories:


These devices were invented the very first. They are considered the most accurate, but now it is very difficult to find them - they were removed from production due to the danger that accidental damage to the flask-manometer entails. The device consists of four components - a cuff that is worn on the shoulder, pears for inflating air in the cuff, a phonendoscope for listening to heart sounds and a scale with mercury showing pressure.

An interesting fact is that people with mercury tonometers, produced during Soviet times, who do not want to change their device to a newer one, still turn to specialized workshops.


This type is distinguished by its high accuracy and low price. Their pressure gauge is more complicated - there is a sensitive metal membrane in it, which reacts to pressure and, through a special mechanism, causes the arrow to rotate, indicating the pressure on the scale. In addition to the manometer, the device is no different from its “older brother” - the mercury tonometer.

But the vibrations of the mercury column are noticeable better than the vibrations of the arrow, so for proper measurement it is necessary to have good eyesight and, for safety, good hearing in order to catch, sometimes barely audible, heart sounds. This factor complicates the use of a mechanical tonometer by the older generation, whose hearing and vision is reduced.

Not so long ago, devices were developed that quickly conquered the market thanks to their simplicity and convenience - electronic blood pressure monitors.

There are 3 types of them:


Pretty cheap, accurate and easy to use devices. They are able to measure not only pressure but also pulse, and also inform the user about arrhythmias - unstable pulses. Tonometers of this type are very reliable - they have very little electronics, and they work, for the most part, from batteries. The device consists of a pear, a cuff and an electronic unit. It is very simple to use it - it is enough to pump air into the cuff with a pear and wait a bit, but due to the fact that the pumping of air into the cuff occurs mechanically, some people, for example with poorly working hands, cannot use them.

Automatic. In turn, they are also divided into two subspecies:


The most simple to use devices, the management of which is reduced to a single button. It is worth noting that the cost of such devices is more expensive than any of the above mentioned ones, but they are ideally suited for old people, since even with a wrongly worn cuff they show pressure with an accuracy of 3-5 mm Hg. Their main disadvantage is that they can break at any time due to frequent use - the compressor (motor with valves for inflating the air in the cuff) and the trigger valve inside the device wear out for 3-7 years.


These are very small and convenient devices. They are not very expensive and not very accurate, but this is a great option for travel. From the point of view of reliability, it should be said that the devices serve an average of 5-10 years, and the most frequent breakdown of them is damage to the cuff (most often from time), which can only be found in official service centers.


Some modern smart watches and fitness bracelets also measure blood pressure. Their design is very different from other types of tonometers - instead of the sensor-membrane, which is used in mechanical and electronic devices mentioned above, a special pulse wave measurement technology is used - special ultra-sensitive sensors record contact pressure - the slightest skin oscillations.

The signals from the sensors are subsequently processed by the clock or by a smartphone tied to them and are displayed on the screen in a form understandable to the user. This is a very convenient thing for athletes who need to constantly monitor the performance of their body, but, unfortunately, despite the fact that the technology is being improved all the time, the accuracy of bracelets leaves much to be desired.

In the end, I would like to say that with increasing pressure, it is better to turn to a specialist who, with special knowledge, can measure pressure with one hundred percent accuracy and conduct other necessary studies to rule out the appearance of diseases that can ruin life, and not self-medicate In order not to miss the first calls of heart disease, and you should get yourself a blood pressure monitor.

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