February 21, 2011

Wristwatch-Style Blood Pressure Device Developed

Researchers in Singapore and the UK have developed a new blood pressure monitoring device that they claim is easier to use, more comfortable to wear, and more accurate than traditional methods.

Scientists at the University of Leicester and HealthSTATS International, a medical devices company located in the Southeast Asian country, developed the measurement device, which has been dubbed the CASPal and is similar to a wristwatch.

The CASPal uses a sensor to record central aortic systolic pressure, which they state will be more accurate than measurements taken from the arm. The device's sensor records the artery's pulse wave, then uses computer technology to create a mathematical model of it, which is then studied by scientists who can discern an individual's blood pressure at an area closer to the heart and brain.

In a February 21 press release, University of Leicester representatives state that patients who have tested the CASPal device "found it easier and more comfortable, as it can be worn like a watch."

They add that getting readings closer to the areas most susceptible to damage by high blood pressure is an important feature of the unit, and that the new technology "will hopefully lead to better identification of those who will most likely benefit from treatment by identifying those who have a high central aortic systolic pressure value."

The development of the device, which was funded by the UK Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), is the subject of a paper in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In a statement, Bryan Williams, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Leicester and a consultant physician at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said that the CASPal device would not "replace what we do overnight," but called the unit's development "a big advance."

"I am under no illusion about the magnitude of the change this technique will bring about," Williams added. "It has been a fabulous scientific adventure to get to this point and it will change the way blood pressure has been monitored for more than a century."

However, the professor did add that additional work would be required to see whether or not CASP measurements will be a widely used method, or whether or not it is better used to specific, select cases instead of for everyone. Even so, he referred to CASPal as a "game-changer" and said that he felt strongly that the device would "change clinical practice."


Image Caption: This is the CASPal blood pressure measurement device. Credit: University of Leicester


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