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Sphygmomanometer, Leeds, England, 1920-1955

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Modern sphygmomanometers are based on one devised by Scipione Riva-Rocci (1863-1937) in the 1890s. A sphygmomanometer measures blood pressure. It was invented in 1876. Riva-Rocci added the arm cuff. This inflates to cut off blood flow in an artery in the arm. A reading is taken when the pulse felt in the wrist disappears. This represents the maximum blood pressure. Measuring blood pressure only became routine in medicine in the 1920s. Blood pressure is taken because it helps diagnose problems with the heart or arteries. This example was made by Chas F. Thackray Ltd, a surgical and medical instrument maker in Leeds, England.

Object number:

A680737 Pt1



Glossary: sphygmomanometer

An instrument used by medical staff to measure blood pressure. Usually made up of a cuff which is placed around the arm of a patient, and a measuring unit that shows the patient's blood pressure.