A new portable ultrasonic patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in the deep arteries beneath the skin may help people detect cardiovascular problems earlier and more accurately.
A team of researchers led by the University of California at San Diego describes their work in an article published in Nature Biomedical Engineering .
The patch uses ultrasound, so it could be used to non-invasively track other vital signs and physiological signals from places inside the body. By integrating ultrasound technology into wearables, we can begin to capture a large amount of data about it .
The new ultrasound patch can continuously monitor the central arterial pressure in the main arteries to a depth of up to four centimeters below the skin.
In the operating room, especially in complex cardiopulmonary procedures, a precise real-time evaluation of central blood pressure is needed: this is where this device has the potential to supplant traditional methods.
The device measures central blood pressure, which differs from the blood pressure that is measured with an inflatable cuff held around the upper arm, known as peripheral blood pressure. Central blood pressure is the pressure in the central blood vessels, which send blood directly from the heart to other important organs throughout the body. Experts believe that central blood pressure is more accurate than peripheral blood pressure and also say it is more useful for predicting heart disease.
In order to measure the central pressure, invasive procedures are required. However, with this soft and elastic patch that can be worn on the skin and provide accurate readings at all times, the user can even move without affecting the measurements.
The patch was tested on a male subject, who used it on the forearm, wrist, neck and foot. The tests were performed both when the subject was still and during the exercise. The recordings compiled with the patch were more consistent and accurate than the recordings of a commercial tonometer.