A sphygmomanometer or blood pressure meter (also referred to as a sphygmometer) is a device used to measure blood pressure, composed of an inflatable cuff to restrict blood flow, and a mercury or mechanical manometer to measure the pressure. It is always used in conjunction with a means to determine at what pressure blood flow is just starting, and at what pressure it is unimpeded. Manual sphygmomanometers are used in conjunction with a stethoscope.
The word comes from the Greek sphygmós (pulse), plus the scientific term manometer (pressure meter). The device was invented by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch in 1881 Scipione Riva-Rocci introduced a more easily used version in 1896. In 1901, Harvey Cushing modernized the device and popularized it within the medical community.
A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit (the mercury manometer, or aneroid gauge), and inflation bulb and valve, for manual instruments.