Blood Pressure Wrist Watch Monitor
A ‘wristwatch’ that could save lives by measuring blood pressure more accurately has been developed by British doctors.
They say it gives more precise readings than the traditional arm cuffs.
This would make it easier for doctors to better pinpoint those at risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Life saver: The 'wristwatch' are expected to become standard in GPs' surgeries within three years
High blood pressure is blamed for more than 62, 000 deaths a year in the UK alone but is often dubbed ‘the silent killer’ because it is symptomless until it is too late.
The cuffs in use in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals measure the pressure of blood flowing through the upper arm.
But while this is easy to measure, it doesn’t always tally with what is going on in the larger arteries close to the heart and brain, where damage can be fatal.
This can lead to false positive readings, which leads to patients being given pills unnecessarily, and false negatives, in which warning signs are missed.
The new system combines the blood pressure reading from the upper arm with data from a sensor placed over the pulse in the wrist.
This gives a reading that more accurately matches what is going on near the heart, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports.
Those who have tested the wristwatch, developed with funding from the Department of Health, say they found it comfortable to wear.
Leicester University’s Professor Bryan Williams, who carried out the research with scientists from Singapore, said: ‘I am under no illusion about the magnitude of the change this technique will bring about. It has been a fabulous scientific adventure to get to this point and it will change the way blood pressure has been monitored for more than a century.’
He expects the £100-plus devices to be standard in GPs’ surgeries within two to three years. Versions for home use are also expected.
However, Judy O’Sullivan, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, warned: ‘Further research is needed before we can be certain of its superiority in the doctor’s surgery.’