Is stress bearing down on you? Do people say you look flushed? High blood pressure has been called the silent killer — that’s right: silent, but deadly. Now a Korean research team is aiming to make this silent killer heard, loudly, through a noise coming from the bathroom — with this toilet that can detect blood pressure. Ah, yes, our two favorite subjects, together at last: Medical technology and toilet humor!
…researchers at Seoul National University have developed a method for measuring blood pressure using a specially designed apparatus that is set up underneath the toilet seat… The apparatus is particularly useful for long-term blood pressure monitoring because it is nonintrusive, it is convenient for everyday usage, and it can be used in a home environment.
Blood pressure measurements with this seat are based on the relationship between pulse arrival time (PAT) and blood pressure. PAT has been shown to be most closely related to SBP, although the relationship varies greatly from patient to patient. This problem can be overcome if PAT is estimated for each individual patient, the researchers believe.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “white coat effect” — the tendency of patients’ blood pressures to rise when placed in a health care setting. Some experts place more weight on blood pressures measured elsewhere — say, at home, where a patient is relaxed and comfortable.
But we wonder if blood pressure measured on the toilet will be wildly unreliable, varying with a patient’s diet and sense of urgency. It would be interesting for patients to see, however, the rapid effects of coffee on blood pressure (the effects on the bladder and bowels having already been appreciated).
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