November 16, 1957

Blood Pressure Sounds and Their Meanings

JAMA. 1957;165(11):1511. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980290151026

The object of the research described in this monograph is the establishment of a physical explanation for the Korotkoff sounds. Some, but not all, of the previous work on this aspect of physiology is here reviewed. In this study, the Korotkoff sounds are related to vibrations of the brachial arterial wall as recorded under a sphygmomanometer cuff while the cuff pressure is slowly reduced toward zero from a level well above the systolic pressure. These vibrations are presumed to represent the brachial arterial pulse wave shape and amplitude. Classical work devoted to the complexities of pulse wave transmission through the systemic arterial tree forms the background of this report. This includes the concepts of standing and reflected waves and the factors that determine them. The relationship of arterial blood flow to blood pressure is also shown to be more complex than is perhaps commonly realized. The Korotkoff sounds are then

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