JUN 01, 2023 2:00 PM PDT

Smartphone Clip Expands Blood Pressure Monitoring Access

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

A team of engineers at the University of California – San Diego have developed a new 3D-printed tool that can attached to a smart phone and enable users to quickly and accurately measure their blood pressure. The device is described in a recent article published in Scientific Reports.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is an unfortunately common health condition, one that continues to affect more and more people each year. In fact, nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension, defined as a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mmHg. And only about 25% of these people have their hypertension under control, either through medication or lifestyle changes, such as exercise or diet changes.

The ability to monitor blood pressure is an important part of managing hypertension. However, many existing tools for measuring blood pressure are expensive and cumbersome, often involve arm cuffs that have to be worn in order to get an accurate measurement.

The research team’s new device could make measuring blood pressure easier and more affordable than ever before.

The device itself is a printed clip that costs less than a dollar to created. The clip utilizes the smartphones camera and flash feature to analyze a person’s fingertip and gather a blood pressure reading. The clip uses a feature similar to a camera, the device can measure blood volume going in and out of the fingertip. This information transmitted by the clip is analyzed by a smartphone app, which produces a traditional systolic-diastolic blood pressure reading. The app also provides additional instructions to users, such as how long to hold their finger to the smartphone’s camera. Because it costs so little to create, researchers hope the clip could be an effective resource for people with little access to medical care or who have a hard time getting to a health clinic.

One unique features of the clip? It doesn’t need a traditional blood pressure cuff to help calibrate it. Many existing cuffless tools for blood pressure monitoring need a traditional cuff to help calibrate it. The team has developed a tool that can be used on its own while producing an accurate blood pressure reading.

Sources: Science Daily; Scientific Reports; Health and Human Services

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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