Clever blood pressure device will reduce doctor visits
A pocket-sized blood pressure monitor could save sufferers a trip to the doctor and give patients the ability to check their readings at the touch of a button.
The technology is being developed by engineers at Monash University and gives patients continuous readings from the comfort of their home.
It works 24 hours a day - including when a person is running, walking or sleeping - feeding back vital signs that are then stored on a computer. The device keeps track of a person's blood pressure, ECG, heart rate and respiration rate, looking for any changes and allowing the user to act on any abnormalities.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Mehmet Yuce said "wearables" were already widely used in the self-health and fitness domain, but the medical world was yet to catch up.
"There's a big need to have a continuous, cuffless device," Mr Mehmet said. "That has been missing in medical settings. You have the cables in hospitals to connect to the devices.
"But blood pressure has been a difficult one - for example, during sleep it's not (currently) possible to monitor blood pressure because you will wake up (with the arm pump). So what we do is … we attach our sensors to the chest area and they collect data (instead)."
The wireless and wearable device, in the form of a chest monitor would replace traditional handheld pumps used in clinics. It is also easy to hide, fitting under clothing.
The development has been hailed a success by researchers who hope it could make the lives of people suffering from blood pressure diseases - such as hypertension and hypotension - easier.
Human trials using prototypes have already returned promising results, with 93 per cent accuracy for sedentary readings in the first trial and 83 per cent for readings taken while being active.
Mr Mehmet said he now hoped to conduct a clinical trial with patients in a sleep setting. He said the aim of the project was to create a device that was easy to use for both patients and staff.
"Our ultimate goal … is to collect data and then it will be stored in a cloud so anyone can access it - doctors, family members," he said.