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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

HAI's Increase Hospital Readmission Rates

HAI MRSA In previous posts we’ve written about hospitals incorporating new infection control strategies, like dedicating a disposable blood pressure cuff to a patient during their stay, largely to help reduce operational costs.The goal of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 is to reduce healthcare costs while improving the quality of patient care. Even though reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) is a top priority at hospitals nationwide, the new healthcare law is also financially incentivizing hospitals to lower readmission rates. Starting in October 2012, hospitals with the highest readmission rates face up to a 1% cut in Medicare pay. By October 2014, hospitals with the highest readmission rates can lose up to 3% of their Medicare reimbursements.

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10 Things To Look For When Purchasing Disposable Cuffs

suntech disposable cuffsWith the passing of the new healthcare law in 2010, more emphasis has been placed on reducing Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) throughout acute-care hospitals. Not only does this new healthcare law have financial penalties for hospitals with the highest rates of HAIs, this law also requires mandatory public reporting of HAI rates for all hospitals in the United States.

Hospitals are currently implementing more stringent Infection Control Policies to reduce the spread of HAIs. Our current e-book details the 7 reasons why disposable cuffs should be a part of an effective infection control program. So even though you know your healthcare facility needs to use to disposable cuffs, what should you look for when selecting and purchasing these cuffs?


  1. Patient Identification Line: Disposable blood pressure cuffs have shown to be an effective approach to reducing the transmission of HAIs, when dedicated for single patient use. When a patient’s identification information can be written on the cuff, it verifies that no one else can use that cuff, minimizes the risk of cross contamination, and reduces the risk of acquiring a HAI in the hospital.
  2. Cuff Standardization Program: Does the disposable cuff manufacturer or distributor offer a program to standardize your facility on one connector? Since the purpose of a disposable cuff is to be used on one patient, it is important to make sure that this cuff can be used on any monitor, anywhere in the hospital. There are a variety of connectors used on blood pressure monitors, so standardizing your hospital on one connector not only improves workflow, it reduces inventory and SKU # which lowers cost.
  3. Patient Comfort: Disposable cuffs must be made out of soft materials and rounded edges. If the cuff is uncomfortable, patients will probably let you know and resultant patient movement during a reading may lead to multiple re-inflates or error codes.
  4. Range of Cuff Sizes: It is extremely important to make sure that a disposable cuff manufacturer makes a full range of cuff sizes. There is a big difference in upper arm circumference between a child, a middle-aged man, and an elderly woman, so your hospital should have the proper size cuffs to use on each patient.
  5. Color-Coding: Most cuff manufacturers color-code their cuffs to help medical professional quickly chose the right size cuff for a patient. Most manufacturers follow the same color coding schemes for each size cuff, which is shown in the table below:
    Cuff Size Color
    Infant Orange
    Child/ Child Long Green
    Small Adult / Small Adult Long Light Blue
    Adult / Adult Long Navy Blue
    Large Adult / Large Adult Long Burgundy
    Thigh Brown
  6. Range Markings: A cuff must have range markers on the inside or outside (preferably both), of the cuff to indicate if the correct size is being used on a patient. Using a cuff that is too small on a patient will affect the accuracy of the measurement and the measurement will be too high. On the other hand, using a cuff that is too large on a patient will result in a measurement that is too low.
  7. Durability: It is important that a disposable cuff is made with a durable material that will be able to withstand multiple inflations, multiple times per day since this cuff will stay with a single patient during the entire duration of their hospital stay.
  8. Latex Free: To minimize risk of adverse reactions to latex and to promote patient safety, disposable cuffs should be free of latex.
  9. Reliable Performance: The last thing you want to happen when you purchase a blood pressure cuff is to have it leak. Therefore, look for a cuff manufacturer that leak tests their cuffs on a regular basis.
  10. Regulatory Requirements: All blood pressure cuffs should be designed and validated to the AHA (American Heart Association) and the AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) standards. These standards provide recommendations for cuff sizing, life cycle of the cuff, maximum inflation, etc.

Whether you are a distributor, physician, nurse, or in materials management and responsible for purchasing blood pressure cuffs, it is good to know the features and benefits of disposable cuffs so you can make an informed decision on which brand of cuff you would like to purchase and use at your facility. If you have any additional features you would like to add to the list, please leave us a comment below.

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New Healthcare Law Means Big Penalties for Hospitals with High HAI Rates

Hospital feesHealthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are one of the hottest topics in healthcare right now. Over 2,000,000 patients in the United States acquire HAIs, which adds an average of 8 days to the hospital stay and causes approximately 99,000 deaths per year.6 The total annual cost to treat these HAIs in the United States is between $35.7 billion and $45 billion with the average in hospital cost per patient between $20,549 and $25,903.

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Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Rates Influencing Patients’ Hospital Selection

Empty patient waiting roomBeing a part of the healthcare industry, we know that reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), such as MRSA (Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus) and C.Diff (Clostridium Difficile), continues to be a top priority for hospitals everywhere.  What is surprising though is that based on a survey conducted in July 2011, prospective patients are becoming increasingly aware of a hospital’s ability to protect their patients from HAIs and are using this information as a major factor in determining where they seek care.

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Top 7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs to Reduce the Transmission of HAI's

HAIsThere have been decades of research on the transmission of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) throughout healthcare settings.  Studies have shown patients can be exposed to HAIs from contaminated healthcare workers’ attire, environmental surfaces (cabinets, bedrails, countertops, etc.), and reusable medical equipment.7,8  Therefore, many healthcare facilities have implemented Infection Prevention and Control programs to help reduce the spread of HAIs.  Some of the strategies employed to help control HAIs include hand washing and the use of disposable items, such as disposable blood pressure cuffs. With that in mind, the following is an abbreviated list of the “Top 7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs to Reduce the Transmission of Healthcare-Associated Infections.”  To download our free ebook version with more in-depth information, pleaseclick here

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MRSA BEWARE: Honey Can Potentially Reverse Antibiotic Resistance

manuka tree and honey beeAs a manufacturer of disposable blood pressure cuffs, we are always interested in new information concerning infection control and potential ways to control antibiotic resistant bacteria (“superbugs”). Since superbugs are creating a serious and growing global threat to public health, the World Health Organization has made antibiotic resistance the central focus of this year’s World Health Day. Furthermore, the Infectious Disease Society of America (ISDA) warns that “unless sweeping actions are taken now, the future could resemble the days before these miracle drugs were developed. People will die of common infections and many medical interventions we take for granted – surgery, chemotherapy, organ transplantation, and premature infant care – will no longer be possible.”

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Move Over MRSA & C.Diff, There is a New Superbug in Town

New Superbug BacteriaMost people have heard about the more popular “superbugs” (antibiotic resistance bacteria) such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.Diff (Clostridium Difficile). But now there is a “new” superbug starting to get alot of attention: NDM-1.

So what exactly is NDM-1 and how is it transmitted? How can disposable blood pressure cuffs play a role in combating this and other infections? These questions, and more, are answered below:

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What is a "Long" Blood Pressure Cuff?

Long size BP cuffAs a manufacturer of blood pressure (BP) cuffs, we are often asked: “What is the difference between an Adult BP cuff (or “standard” cuff) and an Adult Long BP cuff?”

Simply put, a “long” cuff has the same range indicators and bladder size as a “standard” cuff, but the actual length is longer than that of a “standard” cuff.  Therefore, a “long” cuff is able to fit on a larger patient population than a “standard”  cuff.

You are probably asking yourself, “If the range and the bladder size is the same on both a “standard cuff” and a “long cuff”, do they both give accurate readings?”


To answer this question, you need to understand the “80/40” rule.  The “80/40” rule states that in order to obtain an accurate blood pressure measurement, the cuff bladder length should be approximately 80% of the circumference of the upper arm and the cuff bladder width should be optimally 40% of the circumference of the upper arm.  The basic reasoning behind this rule is that the cuff bladder must be able to occlude the brachial artery (obstruct the flow of blood through the artery) when the bladder is inflated.  If the brachial artery is not completely occluded before you start to deflate the bladder, then you will hear the Korotkoff sounds earlier which will result in false high readings.  On the other hand, if the bladder size is too big for the arm, then it will take longer to hear the Korotkoff sounds which will result in false low readings.

So if a “long cuff’ is used on a patient with an arm circumference that fits in the intended range of the cuff, then an accurate blood pressure measurement can be expected.  However, if a “long cuff” is used on a patient with an arm circumference outside the intended range of the cuff, even if the cuff fits the arm of the patient, you risk obtaining inaccurate blood pressure measurements.

While we have kept customer demand in mind by making the long sized cuff available, we recommend always using best practices for obtaining an accurate blood pressure reading.  You can read “10 Steps to Accurate Manual BP Measurement” for a detailed guide for obtaining a high quality reading.  In addition, we highly recommend the following video tutorial for proper cuff sizing.

 

 

If you have experiences using "long" versions of blood pressure cuffs, we invite you to share your thoughts with us.

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Let's Bring in the New Year in Moderation

BP and alcoholAlthough some people like to “indulge” in alcoholic beverages to help bring in the New Year, you may want to take it easy if you have high blood pressure.  While it is common knowledge that high blood pressure increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases and that excessive drinking is not beneficial to your body; the combination of the two may be double trouble.

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10 Things to Look for When Purchasing Reusable Cuffs

Blood Pressure Cuff Check ListIn a recent blog post, we took a look at the various types of blood pressure cuffs available on the market. One of four main types of blood pressure cuffs is the reusable cuff. Given that there are many different manufacturers of reusable blood pressure cuffs with many different options, the selection process can be difficult.  So what do you look for when purchasing a reusable cuff?  Below, we have listed the top 10 features to look for when purchasing a reusable cuff:


  1. Durability: Reusable cuffs must be made with a durable material that will be able to withstand multiple inflations, multiples times per day, on multiple patients and used in a variety of applications (i.e. hemodialysis, EMS, primary care offices, hospitals, etc).
  2. Patient Comfort: Even though reusable cuffs need to be durable; they must also be comfortable to the patient.  If the cuff is uncomfortable, patients will probably let you know and resultant patient movement during a reading may lead to multiple re-inflates or error codes.
  3. Cleaning and Disinfecting: Since reusable cuffs are used on multiple patients, it is extremely important that these cuffs are washed on a regular basis (preferably after every patient).  This is especially true today since several studies have identified blood pressure cuffs as potential vehicles for transmission of nosocomial infections (i.e. MRSA, C-diff, etc).
  4. Range of Cuff Sizes: It is extremely important to make sure that a manufacturer makes a full range of cuff sizes.  There is a big difference in upper arm circumference between a child, a middle-aged man, and an elderly woman, so a medical facility should have the proper size cuffs to use on each patient.
  5. Color-Coding: Most cuff manufacturers color-code their cuffs to help medical professional quickly chose the right size cuff for a patient.  Most manufacturers follow the same color coding schemes for each size cuff, which is shown in the table below:
    Cuff Size Color
    Infant Orange
    Child/ Child Long Green
    Small Adult / Small Adult Long Light Blue
    Adult / Adult Long Navy Blue
    Large Adult / Large Adult Long Burgundy
    Thigh Brown
  6. Range Markings: A cuff must have range markers on the inside or outside, (or preferably both), of the cuff to indicate if the correct size is being used on a patient.  Using an incorrectly sized cuff often results in inaccurate blood pressure measurements.
  7. Latex Free & PVC Free: To minimize risk of adverse reactions to latex and to promote patient safety, reusable cuffs should be free of latex and PVC.
  8. Reliable Performance:  The last thing you want to happen when you purchase a blood pressure cuff is to have it leak.  Therefore, look for a cuff manufacturer that leak tests their cuffs on a regular basis.
  9. Regulatory Requirements: All blood pressure cuffs should be designed and validated to the AHA (American Heart Association) and the AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) standards.  These standards provide recommendations for cuff sizing, life cycle of the cuff, maximum inflation, etc.
  10. Warranty:  Most cuff manufacturers have a 2 or 3 three year warranty on their reusable cuffs.  Of course, this doesn’t mean they will replace cuffs with normal wear and tear.  If the cuff leaks, rips, or tears, then you should be able to return the cuff under warranty with no hassle.

Whether you are a distributor, physician, nurse, or in materials management and responsible for purchasing blood pressure cuffs, it is good to know the features and benefits of reusable cuffs so you can make an informed decision on which brand of cuff you would like to purchase and use at your facility.  If you have any additional features you would like to add to the list, please leave us a comment below.

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The Different Types of Blood Pressure Cuffs on the Market

Specialty CuffMost people think of a blood pressure (BP) cuff as simply, “just a cuff.” However, there are actually a number of BP cuffs that have been developed to meet the varying needs of patients and medical facilities. In an effort to shed more light on the different cuffs available for use, here is some detailed information on each type, how they are used and the typical environment in which each are used.

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Preeclampsia: Pregnancy and Hypertension

PreeclampsiaAn important health issue that expectant mothers may encounter during pregnancy is Preeclampsia, a condition in which the expectant mother is diagnosed with hypertension and has protein present in the urine.  Preeclampsia is the most common medical disorder of pregnancy and affects 10%-12% of all expectant mothers (Pickering et al, 2005).  Since blood pressure plays an important role in the health of mom and baby, accurate blood pressure measurement is extremely critical, because one would never want to be misdiagnosed with hypertension and be prescribed medications/medical interventions that could potentially injure both mom and baby.

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Back to the Basics of Blood Pressure

Blood pressureAlmost everyone knows that blood pressure is one of the most important measurements in medicine. Every time a patient visits a physician's office or hospital, one of the first measurements taken is their blood pressure. Since blood pressure plays such a vital role in monitoring a person's overall health, I thought I would write about the basics of blood pressure and some of the terminology used in blood pressure measurement.

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10 Factors That Can Affect Blood Pressure Readings

Proper blood pressure cuff sizingHave you ever visited the doctor's office and discovered your blood pressure was higher than you expected? Most people do not realize their blood pressure is constantly changing minute by minute in response to mood, activity, body position, etc. In fact, simple changes can cause blood pressure to fluctuate between 5 and 40 mmHg. Here is a list of 10 factors that can temporarily cause significant deviations in your blood pressure measurements.

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Will My Cuffs Work on Different BP Monitors?

The SunTech 247 BP monitorIf you are a professional in the medical field, you know there are many different blood pressure device and cuff manufacturers in the market (e.g. GE, Welch Allyn, CasMed, Trimline, etc). You would also know that it is common for hospitals and physician's offices to use one manufacturer's blood pressure device and use a different manufacturer's BP cuffs. As a manufacturer of both blood pressure monitors and blood pressure cuffs, a common question we receive is "Will the BP cuff I am currently using work with a SunTech blood pressure monitor?"

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Larger Blood Pressure Cuffs, Please!

measurement tape imageIf you ask any nurse or doctor about blood pressure (BP) cuffs, one of the most common questions you will receive is "Why can't we get a larger cuff?" With the obesity epidemic increasing globally, the need for larger blood pressure cuffs is becoming more pronounced. The World Health Organization states that "currently more than 1 billion adults are overweight - and at least 300 million of them are clinically obese."1

So why can't BP cuff manufacturers just make larger size cuffs?

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