New measurement device to 'revolutionise' blood pressure monitoring

New device could revolutionise blood pressure monitoring
Scientists from the University of Leicester have unveiled a new medical device which they claim could revolutionise the way doctors take a patient's blood pressure. While the traditional method involves inflating a cuff around a patient's upper arm to temporarily interrupt the flow of blood in the brachial artery, the new device is worn on the wrist and can record the actual pulse wave, not just the pulse rate.

The innovative wristwatch uses technology invented by Singapore based medical device company HealthSTATS International. According to Professor Bryan Williams from the university's Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, while the implementation of the device in mainstream application is a way off, it has the potential to offer significant improvements in the medical industry and potentially save lives.

"The non invasive procedure uses a device which not only looks like a wristwatch and is worn like a wristwatch but, in some versions, actually is a wristwatch," said Prof Williams. "A carefully positioned pad presses on the radial artery on the inside of your wrist. Wearing the device for 24 hours provides an average which flattens out pulse raising factors such as excitement or exercise."

The professor claims the new technology will offer a more reliable method of measuring blood pressure, particularly in young people who have more flexible blood vessel walls that can often give a misleadingly high result. "The traditional method of measuring blood pressure can be unreliable because blood pressure is amplified as it travels away from the heart," he said. "Being able to measure blood pressure near the heart, specifically in the aorta is important because this is where high blood pressure can cause damage."

Laura Hopperton

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