The consequences of high blood pressure are one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Despite this, according to the World Health Organization WHO, fewer than one in two of those affected measures their blood pressure regularly. The main reason for this is that regular measurements are costly.
Measuring and monitoring blood pressure is a tedious business for patients. It usually involves a cuff which is activated every 15 minutes over several hours and compresses the upper arm, a cumbersome measuring device on the body, or in some cases even invasive monitoring, in which a catheter is inserted into the artery. It is no wonder that those affected avoid this procedure if at all possible.
About 15% to 17% of total heart attacks in India are related to high blood pressure (BP). In such a scenario, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) has developed a mechanism to accurately measure a patient’s BP. The institute has secured patent for the invention.
The device is in the form of a wristband that can non invasively measure a patient’s diastolic and systolic BP. Presently, devices that measure BP only count systolic reading. Devices that measure diastole predict with the help of models dependent on body weight, body mass index and age. Such readings are frequently marked by errors. Some foreign-made devices that can measure multiple physiological parameters are quite expensive.
The new device has been developed by Prof Uttama Lahiri and electrical engineering students Dhaval Solanki and Poojan Oza. Prof Lahiri said: “The device also has an arm-pressure cuff and pulse plethysmogram-based sensor. The sensor is used for measuring blood pulsation at the fingertip. For BP measurement, it has a cuff that has to be positioned on the upper arm about one inch above the tennis point.”
She said the machine can also measure pulse rate, hemoglobin, saturation of peripheral oxygen and perfusion index. Change in perfusion index helps doctors decide anesthesia and pain measurement. The wristband has an LCD screen and some vital light displays that automatically change colour in an emergency. It shows red for emergency, green for normal and yellow and orange for precautionary steps.
Senior cardiologist Dr Sameer Dani said: “This device can be a novelty if it measures high BP with precision. Also, wearing a wristband is much more convenient.” He said: “If all Indians with high BP are recognized and treated, we’ll have 30% less heart attacks and strokes. High BP, if ignored, can lead to heart attack and even paralysis.” (Source: ET)
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