UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: obesity and blood pressure cuff

Keywords: obesity, shock, blood pressure (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/6/2011 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 1/18/2022)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Blood pressure cuffs tend to OVERESTIMATE true blood pressure in obese patients. Even larger cuffs tend to do this as well. While low blood pressures are often reliable in diagnosing shock, be wary of  assuming a "normal" blood pressure (e.g. SBP 100-120s) rules out shock in an obese patient who is sick. A-lines might be necessary to accurately assess the blood pressure.

[adapted from ACEP talk by Dr. Tiffany Osborn]