Pulsus Paradoxus- Correct technique of measurement

Systolic blood pressure normally falls during quiet inspiration in normal individuals. It is the accentuation of normal physiology where there is an inspiratory fall in systolic blood pressure more than 10 mmHg.

Pulsus paradoxus is defined as a fall of systolic blood pressure of more than 10 mmHg during the inspiratory phase. [Eur Respir J. 2012 Dec 6. Pulsus paradoxus. [Hamzaoui O Et Al]

1.Inflate the cuff beyond the point where you hear any Korotkoff sounds.
2.Slowly deflate the cuff until you start hearing any sounds. At the highest BP when you hear sounds intermittently (rather than with every heart beat), note the blood pressure. (This corresponds to the higher systemic blood pressure which is occurring during expiration).
3.Keep slowly deflating the cuff until you reach the highest BP in which you hear sounds every beat.
4.The difference between #2 and #3 is the “pulsus paradoxus.” If it is >10 mmHg, it is considered significant.

Cardiac causes
Cardiac tamponade
Pericardial effusion
Constrictive pericarditis
Restrictive cardiomyopathy
Pulmonary embolism
Acute myocardial infarction
Cardiogenic shock

Extracardiac pulmonary causes
Bronchial asthma
Tension pneumothorax

Early recognition of pulsus paradoxus can help to diagnose rapidly cardiac tamponade, assess the severity of acute asthma as well as its response to therapy. Its essential to have good clinical skill inspite of development of newer technology

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