Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 20, 2014

NEC Launches a Technologically Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), high blood pressure causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths around the world, which accounts for 12.8 percent of all deaths. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease as well as ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The organization has seen an increase of uncontrolled hypertension in the past 30+ years as the global population and aging continue to grow. The number had increased from 600 million in 1980 to nearly 1 billion by 2008.

While the statistics are alarming, high blood pressure is one condition individuals can manage with the right set of tools and proper guidance. A new blood pressure monitor from NEC has been introduced to make the process of measuring one’s blood pressure more comfortable with less squeeze, which should encourage users to be more proactive in the management of their health.

The blood pressure monitor, which is also known as sphygmomanometer, can cause anxiety for individuals who don’t have much experience with this device. The monitor measures blood pressure by restricting arterial blood flow and then measuring the blood flow when the cuff is released. This is achieved with an inflating cuff above the elbow, but the new NEC prototype also uses a pressure sensor and a vibration sensor, dramatically reducing the amount of pressure required to take the measurement.  

The NEC low-pressure blood-flow measurement technology was developed in collaboration with Professor Osamu Tochikubo of the Yokohama City (Japan) University School of Medicine. The technology in this new device is able to reduce the amount of pressure used by traditional monitors by analyzing the waveform of the pulse and predicting blood flow changes. It does this by using a unique algorithm capable of estimating the change in blood flows with a pressure applied to the blood vessels that is weak enough not to block the flood of blood.

The single unit includes the pump, rechargeable battery and a Bluetooth module to connect it to an application so it can gather the data and display the information using graphs for easy reading. The connectivity option of this device means users will be able to send the readings directly to their physicians on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to chart their progress once developers create applications that can be integrated into EHR platforms.

“With this technology, NEC has made it possible to obtain blood pressure data throughout the day, including work, recreation and sleeping hours, without placing a heavy burden on patients with constricting pressure and cumbersome devices,” said Yuichi Nakamura, General Manager of Green Platform Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation.

The company has not announced a concrete date for availability or price as of this date.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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