Which tonometer is better: automatic, semi-automatic or mechanical

Which tonometer is better: automatic, semi-automatic or mechanical

Sooner or later, everyone needs to measure their blood pressure. And if this need becomes systematic, you should think about buying a tonometer. In pharmacies, medical stores and even supermarkets, you will find a huge range of devices. How to understand the measurement chaos and make the right choice?

When is it time to look for a tonometer?

When is it time to look for a tonometer


The belief that blood pressure is measured only by old people is not true. In fact, a tonometer may also be needed at a young age, including perfectly healthy people. So, monitoring the level of pressure is necessary for pregnant women. According to statistics, 5–20% of women in an interesting position develop hypertension. For them, the tonometer automatically becomes one of the essentials.

The pressure is also measured by athletes who exhaust their bodies with serious physical exertion. Controlling the pulse and blood pressure in such cases is a necessary measure to prevent cardiovascular surprises.

And, of course, hypertensive patients. If you notice that your blood pressure can rise above 130/90, do not postpone the purchase of a blood pressure monitor. But first you need to understand which device to give preference to.

Which is better – mechanics or automation?

Which is better - mechanics tonometer or automation tonometer


And the first question that buyers face: what, apart from the price, is the difference between a mechanical and an automatic tonometer?

Mechanical copies are among the most difficult to operate. To measure the pressure with their help, you need a tenacious eye that can fix the vibrations of the pressure gauge needle, and a sensitive ear that will hear even a quiet sound at the right time.

However, a mechanical tonometer has undoubted advantages. It is considered the most accurate after the mercury, which has already gone into oblivion. The mechanics allows you to fix the indicators with practically no error, it can serve for many years, and its price does not bother at all.

Automatic devices, of course, are more expensive, but much faster and simpler than their old brother, just as a motorcycle is more agile and more comfortable than a reliable but slow bike. And pedaling from day to day is not a joy to everyone. At the same time, the accuracy of some automatic blood pressure monitors is practically not inferior to mechanical copies.

Also, unlike mechanics, all machines measure the pulse. And additional functions, which are equipped with especially “advanced” models, can even prevent a cardiovascular catastrophe. But it turns out that choosing a machine is not so easy.

Diverse world of electronics


Semi-automatic devices occupy an intermediate place between mechanical and automatic devices. The semiautomatic device “hears” and “sees” itself, but does not know how to pump air into the cuff. Air injection is the same as in mechanical models. The device will notify you with a gentle beep when you can stop squeezing the pear vigorously and relax while waiting for the results.

In terms of accuracy, semiautomatic devices are practically not inferior to mechanics, and the difference in price between them is not so sensitive. Therefore, a semiautomatic device is often the best choice for those who want to get maximum comfort with minimum material losses.

There are two types of machines – on the wrist and on the shoulder. Wrist blood pressure monitors look very ergonomic, but their accuracy is poor. The vessels of the wrist have a small lumen, and no electronics can calculate the pressure on them with jewelry.

Wrist tonometers are often used by athletes who are not afraid of a small error in the readings. For hypertensive patients, it is better to pay attention to the shoulder automat. Here is where the accuracy and convenience, “two in one”!

The cuff of the shoulder tonometer is located on the shoulder, along the inner side of which large vessels pass. That is why shoulder blood pressure monitors are very punctual. And, of course, an automatic machine is a convenience. The patient’s mission during pressure measurement is limited to fixing, and after the procedure – removing the cuff. Oh, yes, you need to remember to click on a single button, which will start the process.

What can an automatic tonometer do?


It would be too commonplace if the capabilities of automatic blood pressure monitors were limited to measuring blood pressure and pulse. Electronics can do more! And before choosing a device, it is better to familiarize yourself with additional functions and come to the conclusion whether it is worth paying for innovative developments.

The most common function that automatic and semi-automatic machines are equipped with is the diagnosis of arrhythmia. The tonometer monitors irregular heartbeats and, detecting them, signals danger. The device detects arrhythmias at the earliest stages, when you do not yet feel clinical manifestations. And therefore, the definition of arrhythmia is one of the most important functions for patients at risk: patients with hypertension and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

There are also blood pressure monitors that can detect atrial fibrillation, a common and very dangerous rhythm disorder. The most modern and, as a rule, not cheap automatic devices are equipped with this function.

Another useful technology is to analyze three consecutive measurements and produce an average result. It is no secret that the accuracy of an automatic tonometer largely depends on the correct preparation for measuring pressure. To obtain correct results, you must rest for 5-10 minutes before the procedure. You should be calm. During the procedure, you cannot move, and talk, and much more. By the way, these requirements apply to all types of blood pressure monitors – both automatic and mechanical.

However, if you did not have time to take some time to rest before the measurement, mechanics will still be more accurate than automation. An exception is made for devices that are equipped with the function of averaging three measurements. In one measurement, the tonometer manages to determine the indicators three times, process them and give a “weighted average” and the most accurate result.

Don’t rush to pay


So, you have decided on the type of device. What’s next? Then be sure to carry out a test measurement. Hold the tonometer in your hands and make sure that its parameters are suitable for you. Check if the length of the standard cuff is sufficient for you – for example, obese people have to be especially scrupulous about choosing it. If you have poor eyesight, pay attention to the size of the screen: the larger it is, the larger the indicators are displayed on it.

Don’t forget about the power adapter – it connects to all machines except the wrist. For those who regularly measure pressure, the adapter is indispensable. Sometimes it is sold as a set for the tonometer, but more often it is bought separately.

When you touched everything, held and measured and the result of these actions pleased you pleasantly, check another important point – the issuance of a warranty card. This document will protect you from manufacturing defects and will be a worthy end to a difficult buying process.

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