In what is being hailed by experts as a "scientific breakthrough" that could "revolutionize" the way blood pressure is measured, researchers in Singapore and the UK report in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on a novel device that can measure blood pressure near the heart.
The CASPro blood pressure monitor is named after central aortic systolic pressure (CASP), which is the pressure exerted by the aorta--the body's largest artery--that extends out from the heart. CASP is a key indicator of stroke and heart disease risk, and its measurements appear to be more prognostic than the brachial blood pressure often measured in the arm.
Physicians typically measure CASP by inserting a catheter up a patient's femoral artery (in the leg) to the aorta. The new approach is not only noninvasive, but it's also mobile.
Researchers at the University of Leicester and the Singapore-based medical device company HealthSTATS International inserted a sensor into a wrist strap designed to be worn like a watch. Computerized mathematical modeling interprets pulse waves recorded by that sensor, with the possibility of continuous real-time monitoring.
It remains unclear whether a CASP monitoring watch will be useful for the general population, but the researchers are at least excited about its application for patients with high risk of stroke and heart disease.
The device, says HealthSTATS CEO and Chairman Dr. Choon Meng Ting in a news release, "will empower doctors and their patients to monitor their central aortic systolic pressure easily, even in their homes, and modify the course of treatment for BP-related ailments. Pharmaceutical companies can also use CASP devices for clinical trials and drug therapy. All these will ultimately bring about more cost savings for patients, reduce the incidences of stroke and heart attacks, and save more lives."
The device's creators hope their CASPro monitor will be the norm in doctors' offices within a few years, according to a report by the BBC.