To get the accuracy of cuff devices and the convenience of mobile device apps, a team led by an Indian-origin researcher has created a new app and hardware to measure blood pressure. The technology, details of which were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine along with a video, also includes a discovery of a more convenient measurement point.
“We targeted a different artery, the transverse palmer arch artery at the fingertip, to give us better control of the measurement,” said lead author Anand Chandrasekhar. “We were excited when we validated this location. Being able to use your fingertip makes our approach much easier and more accessible,” Chandrasekhar, a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, added.
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The approach uses two sensors — an optical sensor on top of a force sensor. The sensor unit and other circuitry are housed in one centimetre-thin case attached to the back of the phone. Users turn on the app and press their fingertip against the sensor unit. With their finger on the unit, they hold their phone at heart level and watch their smartphone screen to ensure they are applying the correct amount of finger pressure.
“A key point was to see if users could properly apply the finger pressure over time, which lasts as long as an arm-cuff measurement,” added senior author Ramakrishna Mukkamala. “We were pleased to see that 90 percent of the people trying it were able to do it easily after just one or two practice tries,” Mukkamala noted. This invention could give patients a convenient option and be keeping a log of daily measurements would produce an accurate average, discounting an occasional measurement anomaly.