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Taking Blood pressure during prophy

Hi! I was just wondering how many Hygienists out there take vitals on their patient during the prophy. The last CE course I took really stressed the importance of taking them and I’ve been thinking about how I could start doing this in the 45 minutes I see my patients in. This has never been done in both of the offices I work at and I am terrified at the idea of starting it. For those hygienists who do take vitals I commend you and I must ask: How did you manage the time of taking vitals as well as how do you approach the patient with doing something they have never done here before??



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We have a bp machine that has a pulse oximeter. I have hour slots for Prophy or PM. I take their bp after updating HH. I explain that I’ve found a lot of high blood pressure with my patients and since our pts see us more than their primary care doctor we can notice changes. Also, explain that since we use anesthetics we need to know that your BP is under control. We have more pts that are taking HBP medications and we need to evaluate the medication is working properly….if not referral to PCP is necessary.
You will get some resistance with some. You will get comments that your machine doesn’t read right…blah,blah,blah…… Just keep with it. They will ask what the numbers mean so be ready to inform them. I tell them the first number is when your heart is working and pumping blood and the second number is when the heart is resting ( not pumping blood to the body). I also had a doc tell me that studies are showing that people with elevated BP for long periods are being diagnosed with kidney disease. I have many pts with elevated BP. Know the normal ranges etc….
Also, note which arm you take it on and let pt know to check both arms on occasion because there could be blockages and if the right is way off from the left to have it checked out.

My mother was 99.99% blocked on her left arm after she noticed she didn’t have a pulse and couldn’t get a reading from her left arm. Her right arm was fine.
Long story short……..didn’t worry about the left arm blockage. Cardiologist knew if the arm was blocked there had to be heart blockages. There were 5 blockages in her heart ranging from 99% to 70%. After the heart was repaired and healed….. a few months went by and she had the left arm repaired. Now, it’s a fight to get her diet under control due to type II diabetes, getting her to really quit smoking and the list goes on…….it’s a battle.

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I do take blood pressure at every appointment. I use one that goes on the patient’s wrist. You just put it on and press a button. It takes only 20 seconds. It’s easy to fit it in sometime during your appointment and so important. Alot of patients see us more than their physician so chances are we can catch hbp before any other medical professional. If its high then I use it as a good educational moment to link systemic issues to oral health. And I have never had a problem with a patient not wanting their bp taken. I just make it part of the routine and let them know they are getting complete comprehensive care.

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