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Accurate Blood Pressure Readings: Choosing the Right-size Cuff

Using a wrong-size blood pressure cuff can affect accuracy by up to 30 mmHg. The American Heart Association recommends a cuff bladder width of 40% of the arm circumference and a cuff bladder length of 80% of the arm circumference. This poster tells how to choose the right cuff, position it properly, and avoid common sources of BP monitoring error.

  1. Begin by measuring the patient’s mid upper arm circumference.
  2. Using the sizing chart below, determine what size cuff should be used based on the measurement reading.
    If a patient’s cm measurement is overlapping between sizes, default to the larger cuff if width is appropriate.
  3. Place the artery mark located on the cuff over the patient’s brachial artery.
  4. Wrap the cuff snugly and securely, allowing space for two fingers to fit between patient and cuff.
Cuff size infant-child
Cuff size Small adult - adult
Cuff size Large adult
* Also available in long size


Common sources of error in blood pressure monitoring¹

Table displaying common sources of error in blood pressure monitoring
Wrong size warning

The American Heart Association recommends that a cuff bladder width be 40% of the arm circumference and that a cuff bladder length be 80% of the arm circumference.¹


  1. Pickering, T., et al. Recommendations for Blood Pressure Measurement in Humans: An AHA Scientific Statement from the Council on High Blood Pressure Research Professional and Public Education Subcommittee. Hypertension 45, 142-161 (2005).
  2. Manning, D.M., et al. Miscuffing: Inappropriate blood pressure cuff application. Circulation 68(4), 763-6 (1983).
  • Circulatory
  • NIBP
  • Emergency care
  • Clinical
  • Subacute care
  • Operational