Scientists at the University of California San Diego created a flexible ultrasonic patch that can measure the blood pressure in major vessels such as the jugular vein and carotid artery. The technology has already shown, in a proof-of-concept study, that it may be made as accurate as invasive means to measure the central blood pressure. If turned into a product, patients may soon benefit from continuous, highly accurate blood pressure monitoring the reach, convenience, and benefits of which existing BP cuffs or invasive lines simply can’t provide. Moreover, it may serve as an intraoperative technique for real-time blood pressure monitoring during surgeries such as cardiopulmonary procedures in which invasive methods are currently employed.
The device can measure blood pressure in vessels over an inch, or four centimeters, deep. It is made of a silicone elastomer with an “island-bridge” array of electronics fused into it, with each component connected to others via squiggly metallic wires. Each of the “island” parts includes a tiny ultrasound transducer and the group of transducers works together to emit ultrasonic waves and to capture them bouncing back from the body.
The patch essentially measures how much a blood vessel expands in its width from one heartbeat to the next. This expansion can be converted to a blood pressure reading via a computer algorithm. Moreover, a waveform of the expansion and contraction of the blood vessel is produced, which may be another useful addition to a cardiologist’s tool-chest along the ECG.
Study in Nature Biomedical Engineering: Monitoring of the central blood pressure waveform via a conformal ultrasonic device…
Images courtesy of Chonghe Wang/Nature Biomedical Engineering