Researchers devise custom finger clip to measure blood pressure, vitals


The monitoring of blood pressure of individuals on a regular basis helps healthcare professionals with early detection of various health problems such as high blood pressure with no warning signals or symptoms. However, a number of things can alter accurate blood pressure reading, including nervousness of patients of taking their blood pressure at a doctor’s clinic.

In a new development, researchers at the University of Missouri are offering a customized commercial finger clip instrument for a rapid, noninvasive way to measure and continually monitor blood pressure. At the same time, the device can measure four vital signs – heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate.

Typically, measuring blood pressure of an individual at a healthcare facility involves using an inflatable cuff enveloped around the arm. However, the method has drawbacks that it can cause damage to an individual’s arteries if performed repeatedly within a short duration, blood pressure of individuals can shoot up due to nervousness, and it can take up to 30 seconds to complete.

The device can record an individual’s blood pressure in a span of five seconds with the help of optical sensors positioned on the fingertip. The sensors measure the amount of light bounced back the blood vessels below the surface of the skin.

The device uses two PPG sensors placed at two different points on a finger to capture an individual’s pulse wave velocity, or to measure how fast the blood is flowing in the bloodstream. Once the data from pulse wave velocity is gathered, it is transferred wirelessly to a computer to process signal measure of blood pressure by a machine learning algorithm. The researchers said other studies have also demonstrated pulse wave velocity to have a strong association with blood pressure.

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