Q: When monitoring arterial pressure using an intra-arterial pressure device, what do nurses need to know to ensure accuracy of readings?

With the advent of disposable pressure transducer technology, accuracy affecting intra-arterial pressure readings is now limited to patients’ clinical conditions and clinicians’ knowledge and skills in the use of the intra-arterial pressure monitoring device. Some of the most common elements affecting accuracy of intra-arterial pressure readings include anatomical sites, peripheral vascular diseases, and use of vasoactive medications. The knowledge, experience, and skills of clinicians in leveling and zeroing pressure transducers; variations in patient position relative to the transducers; and waveform configurations also need to be considered in ongoing intra-arterial pressure measurement.

Intra-arterial pressure monitoring is designed to measure systemic pressure as close to the heart as possible. The best way to measure true systemic pressure is through the use of a central aortic pressure catheter, which can only be...

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