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In medicine and the physical examination, sphygmomanometers are "instruments for measuring arterial blood pressure consisting of an inflatable cuff, inflating bulb, and a gauge showing the blood pressure."[1] In this classic description, the user also uses a stethoscope to recognize points at which components of the blood pressure should be read from the gauge.

They were developed by Riva Rocci in 1896.[2]

More modern units, including those for home use by people not skilled in listening to the characteristic sounds, may use electronic detection of sound. Related devices may use ultrasonographic techniques to determine the pressure by sensing blood flow. Recording sphygmomanometers are available, which can record ambulatory pressures and correlate pressure with the patient's activity.