Aneroid blood pressure manometer calibration rates in physical therapy curricula: A descriptive study

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Cardiopulm Phys Ther J


Purpose: The purposes of this study were to (1) describe the calibration rates of aneroid blood pressure (BP) devices used in physical therapist (PT) education programs and (2) determine the validity of having the gauge needle resting within the zero-accuracy indicator as a proof of device calibration.

Methods: We conducted a prospective descriptive study using a sample of convenience with an estimated 30-35 aneroid BP sphygmomanometers available for calibration check from each of the 6 PT education programs. Calibration of the measurement device used a certified mercury sphygmomanometer following the recommendations of the European Society of Hypertension. Descriptive statistics reported calibration rates, gauge needle position, device brand, cuff sizes, and whether the device was portable or wall mounted. Additionally, BP device calibration rates measured at universities that had or had not performed equipment calibration checks within the previous 2 years were compared using the Chi-square test with significance set at P ≤ .05.

Results: Calibration failure was identified in 22.5% of 289 BP gauges, whereas 16.2% of devices with a gauge needle resting in the zero accuracy indicator failed calibration validity measures. Additionally, a significant difference between the calibration rates of equipment from universities that had (n = 47) and had not (n = 242) regularly performed calibration checks was identified (P= .001).

Conclusion: This study found that 22.5% of aneroid BP devices used in the participating PT education programs were not in calibration. Additionally, visual confirmation of a gauge needle resting position falling within the zero accuracy indicator did not assure that a device was in calibration. Routine inspection of BP devices is imperative to assure that accurate BP readings are guiding clinical recommendations.





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