What Is Mean Arterial Pressure?

Amanda Thomas Apr 14, 2024
MAP Blood Pressure with Nurse

Today, we dissect a topic that’s vital — quite literally — to the lifeblood of our well-being: mean arterial pressure (MAP).

MAP is the average blood pressure within an individual’s arteries during one cardiac cycle. It’s crucial for ensuring that organs receive enough blood flow to meet their oxygen and nutrient needs.

Unlike the standard blood pressure reading, which divides into systolic and diastolic pressures, MAP focuses on the average pressure and provides a more comprehensive overview of a client’s cardiovascular health.

Figuring out how to calculate mean arterial pressure might sound daunting, but we’re here to transform this equation into an easy-to-understand concept.

Jump to Section


  1. What Is Normal Mean Arterial Pressure?
  2. How to Calculate Mean Arterial Pressure
  3. Example MAP Calculations

What Is Normal Mean Arterial Pressure?

A normal MAP is above 65 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Maintaining a MAP in this range is essential for optimal organ function and perfusion. A MAP below 60 mmHg can indicate inadequate blood flow to the body’s vital organs, leading to potential organ failure and critical health issues.

How to Calculate Mean Arterial Pressure

Calculating MAP involves a simple formula that incorporates systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

The formula is:

MAP = SBP + 2 (DBP) / 3

Where:

SBP = Systolic blood pressure
DBP = Diastolic blood pressure

Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculating MAP:

  1. Measure blood pressure: Obtain accurate systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings using a sphygmomanometer.
  1. Plug values into the formula: Substitute the SBP and DBP values into the abovementioned formula.
  1. Calculate MAP: Perform the arithmetic to find the mean arterial pressure.

For example, if a client’s blood pressure readings are 120 mmHg (SBP) and 80 mmHg (DBP), the calculation would be:

MAP = 120 + 2 (80) / 3
= (120 + 160) / 3
= 280 / 3
≈ 93.3 mmHg

This result indicates the client’s mean arterial pressure is approximately 93.3 mmHg.

Example MAP Calculations

Let’s explore a couple of scenarios to further illustrate how to calculate MAP:

Client A: SBP = 140 mmHg, DBP = 90 mmHg

MAP = 140 + 2(90) / 3
= (140 + 180) / 3
= 320 / 3
≈ 106.7 mmHg

Client B: SBP = 100 mmHg, DBP = 60 mmHg

MAP = 100 + 2(60) / 3
= (100 + 120) / 3
= 220 / 3
≈ 73.3 mmHg

These examples demonstrate how variations in blood pressure readings affect the calculated mean arterial pressure.

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