New China and US Studies Back Use of Pulse Oximeters for Assessing Blood Pressure

Fast and easy blood pressure monitoring could soon be at your fingertips - literally - thanks to new University of British Columbia research that showed blood pressure (BP) can be assessed by a fingertip oximeter, a tool not generally used for that purpose. Hypertension or high blood pressure is linked to 1,100 deaths each day in the U.S. alone, so it's critical to regularly monitor people at risk. The challenge is that current BP monitoring methods have their limitations.

"We found that the oximeter, which clips on to a finger or toe to measure heart rate and the amount of oxygen in the blood, can detect normal, elevated or high blood pressure with up to 95 per cent accuracy," said lead researcher Mohamed Elgendi, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at UBC.

"This suggests that it can, with a few tweaks, do double duty as a BP monitor in the future."

"While the inflatable cuff is easy to use, its accuracy depends on its placement on the arm and the observer's skill," said Elgendi. "Another technique, intra-arterial blood pressure measurement, is highly accurate but invasive, requiring the doctor to insert a needle into an artery."

Past studies have explored using oximeters for blood pressure assessment, but the UBC study is the first to provide supportive evidence based on actual patient records and the first to examine large sample sizes obtained in two different countries, according to Elgendi.

For their analysis, the UBC team examined oximeter records from 121 patients registered at a hospital in Boston, and 219 admitted to a hospital in the Chinese province of Guilin. They ran the oximeter information through a unique mathematical program they had developed, and found nine electrical signatures, or patterns, that correlated significantly with hypertension.

"The consistent presence of these patterns in data collected from two different countries proves that the pulse oximeter is a reliable tool for hypertension assessment," said Elgendi, a postdoctoral fellow in the faculty of medicine at UBC and at BC Women's Hospital. "When we added electrocardiogram data to oximeter data, we were able to improve the detection of pre-hypertension."

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) with the systolic number recorded first, followed by the diastolic number. Normal blood pressure is under 120/80 mmHg, elevated blood pressure or pre-hypertension is between 121/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, and high blood pressure or hypertension is 140/90 mmHg or higher. Pre-hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, so early detection is vital for diagnosis and treatment.

Elgendi and his team are working on replicating their studies on other groups of patients over the next several months. They're also refining their algorithm so that it can be used on a larger scale by oximeter manufacturers.

"With the addition of our algorithm and a few other changes, it's entirely feasible to produce a science-based oximeter that provides highly accurate blood pressure assessment--hopefully contributing to faster detection of hypertension and potentially saving lives," said Elgendi.

Martínez G, Howard N, Abbott D, Lim K, Ward R, Elgendi M.
Can Photoplethysmography Replace Arterial Blood Pressure in the Assessment of Blood Pressure?
J Clin Med. 2018 Sep 30;7(10). pii: E316. doi: 10.3390/jcm7100316.

Most Popular Now

Top 20 Breaking eHealth News of 2018

eHealthNews.eu proudly presents the top 20 most popular breaking eHealth news from 2018. Have a wonderful 2019 New(s) Year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular success!

Artificial Intelligence Advances Threate…

Advances in artificial intelligence have created new threats to the privacy of people's health data, a new University of California, Berkeley, study shows. Led by UC Berkeley engineer Anil Aswani...

Shaping Cloud Selects Highland Marketing…

Public sector cloud transformation specialists Shaping Cloud have chosen Highland Marketing as their marketing and PR partner to help them deliver their growth ambitions in the burgeoning health and care...

Artificial Intelligence System Learns to…

A team of investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Radiology has developed a system using artificial intelligence to quickly diagnose and classify brain hemorrhages and to provide...

Rewired Pitchfest Launched to Showcase B…

Digital health innovators and start-ups are invited to pitch their disruptive ideas and prototypes to NHS digital leaders and leading healthtech investors at the new Digital Health Rewired event next...

Allscripts Joins with Microsoft to Explo…

Today, Allscripts (NASDAQ:MDRX), a global leader in health care information technology, announced a collaboration with Microsoft focused on implementing an innovative, integrated model for clinical research, aiming to enhance clinical...

Merck Welcomes Ten New Startups to its I…

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced the ten startups that will be joining the seventh intake of its Accelerator program at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt...

First Smartphone App to Detect Opioid Ov…

At least 115 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And in 2016, illegal injectable opioids became the...

Stanford Researchers Create a Wireless, …

A new device developed by Stanford University researchers could make it easier for doctors to monitor the success of blood vessel surgery. The sensor, detailed in a paper published Jan...

AI Approach Outperformed Human Experts i…

A research team led by investigators from the National Institutes of Health and Global Good has developed a computer algorithm that can analyze digital images of a woman's cervix and...

Digital Health Consultancy Invests in Cy…

Digital health consultancy Populo Consulting has secured Cyber Essentials Plus certification, in a move that demonstrates its commitment to operating to the same high standards as its NHS clients. Cyber Essentials...