Central Arterial Pressure and Arterial Pressure Pulse: New Views Entering the Second Century After Korotkov

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The ubiquitous brachial cuff method gained widespread clinical acceptance for blood pressure recording after confirmation of its prognostic value in 1917. This method displaced radial pulse waveform analysis by sphygmography, which also gave prognostic information but was difficult to use. Since that time, brachial cuff sphygmomanometry has migrated from the physician's office to 24-hour monitoring and home use, with electronic methods replacing the Korotkov sound technique for determining systolic and diastolic pressure. Detailed instrumental studies, required by regulatory bodies, revealed inaccuracies of all cuff methods for recording true intra-arterial pressure. A major source of inaccuracy in assessing left ventricular load is the amplification of the pressure wave in its transit from the central aorta to upper limb arteries, as extensively studied by Earl H. Wood at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, in the 1950s. This limitation can be overcome by combining newer methods using radial artery waveform analysis in conjunction with conventional cuff sphygmomanometry to noninvasively measure the central aortic pressure waveforms. Recent studies using radial tonometry have proved that this is more effective than conventional manometry in predicting cardiovascular events and gauging response to therapy. Measurement of central as well as peripheral arterial pressure and physiology is becoming increasingly used as an office practice and a laboratory procedure.

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