Off the cuff: Are we measuring BP incorrectly?

After 123 years, it might be time for a better blood pressure device
Neil Bramwell
Scipione Riva-Rocci’s sphygmomanometer
Italian paediatrician Scipione Riva-Rocci’s sphygmomanometer was the first to use a cuff that encircled the arm. Photo: Wellcome Images

It was an English clergyman called Stephen Hales, better known for his pioneering work in botany, who first measured blood pressure by inserting a thin pipe into the artery of a horse in 1733.

The approach was met with uproar from animal lovers, including the well-known poet Alexander Pope.