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New device for taking blood pressure

21st February 2011

Scientists have said a new type of monitoring device could completely change how blood pressure is checked.

bloodpressure

The device, which is fitted around the wrist like a watch, was developed by researchers at the University of Leicester and scientists in Singapore.

The research has been funded by the Department of Health and supported by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Sensors fitted in the device record the pulse waves of the artery, which is then transmitted to a computer, along with a pressure reading from a normal cuff.

This enables scientists to see the most accurate pressure reading from the aorta by the heart.

Professor Bryan Williams, from the University of Leicester's department of cardiovascular sciences at Glenfield Hospital, said: "The aorta is millimetres away from the heart and close to the brain and we have always known that pressure here is a bit lower than in the arm. Unless we measure the pressure in the aorta we are not getting an appreciation of the risks or benefits of treatment."

He added that the device would "change the way blood pressure has been monitored for more than a century" and that while it would start being used in specialist centres, he expected it would be "used much more widely" within five years.

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