March 23 - A team of South Korean researchers has developed a convenient alternative to the conventional arm cuff for measuring blood pressure. For decades, the inflatable band has been used to monitor hypertension, but the team from Seoul National University has created a wearable sensor that can provide continuous monitoring throughout the day. Tara Cleary reports.
Researcher Noh Seung-woo is testing a new blood pressure monitor that he and the biomedical team at Seoul National University College of Medicine believe is a breakthrough in hypertension management. Heading up the research is Professor Kim Hee-chan, who says the new device is more reliable and much less cumbersome than conventional blood pressure monitors. SOUNDBITE: KIM HEE-CHAN, PROFESSOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, SAYING (Korean): "The sensor that we developed is in a very simple patch form, so when you attach it to you skin, it continuously monitors changes in blood pressure, so this would be a new type of blood pressure monitoring system" When positioned over the heart, the device detects the organ's electrical activity and the force of its beat, together providing information about blood pressure. That data is sent in real time to a computer program where it can be recorded and monitored 24/7 if necessary, without impeding the wearer. SOUNDBITE: KIM HEE-CHAN, PROFESSOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, SAYING (Korean): "For better treatment of hypertension, consistent measuring and management are essential. Patients can easily use the sensor comfortably by wearing it, so it reliably measures patient's blood pressure change for 24 hours." High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke around the world. Kim and his team believe their hypertension sensor will allow more people to keep control of their blood pressure, reducing healthcare costs globally while saving lives.