Preeclampsia is a frequent and dangerous complication of pregnancy characterized by an abnormally high blood pressure, coupled with signs of damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs. While there is a fairly easy way to detect signs of preeclampsia, known as the supine pressor test, it requires patients to visit their doctor, something that in many places around the world is not a trivial matter.
Scientists at Purdue University have been working on making the supine pressor test, which involves measuring the patient’s diastolic blood pressure while in two different positions and noting the difference in the readings, easy enough to perform on one’s own.
All that’s required is a blood pressure cuff on the wirst and accelerometer on the belly, both being connected to a smartphone running a special app. The app makes sure that readings are taken in the correct positions as it guides the user to perform the exam, and it then calculates the diastolic pressure differences, which are nearly a sure way to spot developing preeclampsia.
Here’s Craig Goergen, the lead scientist on the project, introducing the new technology: