Monitor Blood Pressure with Video Selfies

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Blood Pressure

It is good and astonishing news for people who have blood pressure (BP) problems, never thought that one day BP monitoring would become as easy as taking a video selfie.

The normal method of measuring blood pressure is through cuff-based devices that detect the pressure of blood with respect to heart contractions (systolic blood pressure) and expansions (diastolic blood pressure).

But in this modern world anything is possible, Researchers from Hangzhou Normal University, in China, and the University of Toronto, in Canada, is working on an innovative approach of BP monitoring which could be quicker, easier, and more convenient way than the routine BP monitoring apparatus. Now the BP patients will be at ease of not carrying the instrument where ever they go. Their smartphones will be their friends now.

Researchers have recently worked on a technology called transdermal optical imaging which measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in the facial videos captured through smartphones. A selfie-style video of the face is required for this medical technology. In particular, this method uses smartphones’ optical sensors to follow blood flow patterns under the skin.

Researcher Ramakrishna Mukkamala, Professor at the Michigan State University revealed that this study showed that facial video contains some information about systolic blood pressure. Ambient light goes through the skin’s outer layer allowing digital optical sensors in smartphones to see and extract blood flow patterns, which is exactly done by transdermal optical imaging models to predict blood pressure.

Kang Lee, a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada said the need to this technology arose due to the majority of people suffering from high blood pressure. And this is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death and disability. So, to manage and prevent it, regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure is essential. It is true that Cuff-based blood pressure measuring devices are highly accurate but not convenient and comfortable all the time and also not feasible to take repeated measurements.

The research team on Cardiovascular Imaging conducted a survey on 1328 people (Canadian and Chinese adults), measured the blood flow by capturing two-minute videos using an iPhone equipped with transdermal optical imaging software. Then they compared to blood pressure readings using a traditional cuff-based continuous blood pressure measurement device.

It was observed that on an average, transdermal optical imaging predicted systolic blood pressure was nearly 95 percent accurate and diastolic blood pressure with pulse pressure was found to be 96 percent accurate. This study was published in the journal Circulation.  According to Lee, the technology’s high accuracy is within international standards for devices which are used to measure blood pressure.

But, still, this has to be investigated with more surveys as Researchers videoed faces in a well-controlled environment with fixed lighting whereas it is not clear if the technology can accurately measure blood pressure in less controlled lighting environments, including homes, offices and also differences in the skin tones of people. People have a variety of skin tones and the studies lacked the evidence with respect to the variation of skin tones.

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