Cuff Size Matters

Blood pressure monitors with an upper arm cuff provide the most accurate blood pressure readings but using the correct cuff size is really important in order to avoid inaccurate results.

Ensure the cuff is the correct size

If the cuff you use is too small for the arm, your blood pressure reading will be artificially high. If your cuff is too large, you may get a lower-than-actual reading. This is known as miscuffing.

On people with big arms, a large cuff is needed and as a general rule the inflatable bladder in the cuff needs to encircle at least 80% of the arm. The width of the cuff should be at least 40% of the arm circumference.

Measure your arm

To make sure you are using the correct size cuff for your arm place a tape measure around the bicep, at mid-arm to measure the arm circumference in cm. The left arm is typically used.

Typical cuff sizes

Not all blood pressure monitors can use different sizes of cuffs. Check with us first to make sure your digital A&D Medical UA and UM series or Meditech ABPM device can.

Typical cuff size ranges are as follows but can vary by manufacturer. For A&D UA series monitors the following cuff sizes are available.

  • Small fits an upper arm between 16-24 cm
  • Adult fits an upper arm between 22-32 cm
  • Semi-large fits an upper arm between 23-37 cm
  • Wide range fits an upper arm between 22-42 cm
  • Large adult fits an upper arm between 31-45 cm

Wide range cuffs like that supplied with the A&D Medical UA-1020-W are becoming popular with clinicians as one cuff can be used across a wider arm circumference range. This monitor can also use a small cuff.

All A&D Medical and Meditech cuffs have visual range markers to make cuff positioning easier and ensure the correct size is used. When applied correctly the cuff should wrap snugly around the arm with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath.

One cuff does not fit all and using the correct cuff size is important both for healthcare professionals in a clinical setting and the public when buying monitors for home use.