Ankle blood pressure measurement, an acceptable alternative to arm measurements

Frank E. Block, G. Todd Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The use of automatic noninvasive blood pressure (NIBP) devices has become a common technique to monitor blood pressure intraoperatively. The usual cuff placement for these devices on the upper arm sometimes poses problems. As an alternative, many clinicians place the cuff: on the ankle. This practice has not been previously investigated to determine its efficacy. The purpose of our study was to determine whether a noninvasive blood pressure cuff on the arm could be replaced by one on the ankle. We monitored 24 patients intraoperatively with two non-invasive blood pressure cuffs, one on the upper arm and one on the ankle. Systolic, diastolic, and mean pressures were obtained from each cuff placement at intervals of no shorter than 3 minutes. The time necessary to obtain the measurements and the presence of any artifact were also recorded. A total of 404 pairs of data were obtained and the systolic blood pressure ranged from 82 to 196 mm Hg. The mean and diastolic pressure readings were equivalent between the arm and ankle blood pressure readings. The systolic pressures were not equivalent, reflecting the fact that the ankle systolic blood pressure is physiologically higher than the arm systolic blood pressure. The difference between the times necessary to obtain the readings from arm or ankle was not statistically significant. Eight of the paired readings (2.0%) represented artifact, arbitrarily defined as a difference in mean blood pressure readings of 15 mm Hg between the arm and the ankle. Since the mean blood pressure readings obtained at the arm and at the ankle were statistically equivalent, we concluded that the ankle cuff placement provided a reliable alternative to the placement of the cuff on the arm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of clinical monitoring and computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 29 1996


  • Anesthesia
  • Ankle
  • Arm
  • Arterial
  • Blood pressure
  • Diastolic blood pressure
  • Mean blood pressure
  • Physiologic noninvasive blood pressure monitoring pressure
  • Systolic monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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