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The first accurate measurement of systolic and diastolic blood pressure

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Poiseuille, known for his law of fluid flow, which is the analog of Ohm's law, introduced the units (mmHg) by which we measure blood pressure by using the mercury manometer, which he described in his medical school thesis in 1828. For 50 years, mean blood pressure was all that could be measured because of the long response time of the mercury manometer. It is true that the height of the mercury column displayed pulsatile oscillations, but their amplitude was much less than that of pulse pressure. It is interesting to note that the slowly responding mercury manometer was made to display first systolic then diastolic pressure by means of an ingenious device that contained two oppositely directed check valves. It took from 1828 to 1903 for high-fidelity graphic recordings of blood pressure to appear in which systolic and diastolic pressures were believable. However, systolic and diastolic pressures were measurable since 1878 when Golz and Gaule created their ingenious valved device that permitted use of the slowly responding mercury manometer to display these pressures accurately.

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IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 3 )