In 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.