Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solar-powered device affordable, reliable tool to measure blood pressure

Date:
November 8, 2010
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
A new solar powered, automated blood pressure monitoring device was equally accurate as the standard device that measures systolic blood pressure. The device was favored by health professionals and patients when tested in Africa. The new device eliminates the need for batteries, which are expensive and scarce in low economic settings.

A new solar-powered device to measure blood pressure may help slow the worldwide increase in cardiovascular disease by providing affordable and reliable blood pressure testing in low income countries, according to research published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The solar powered device -- 94 percent in agreement with the standard blood pressure testing method for systolic blood pressure -- is in field testing in Uganda and Zambia, Africa.

"The incidence of hypertension is rising dramatically in these countries," said Eoin O'Brien, M.D., lead author of the study and professor in Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research at the University College Dublin in Belfield, Dublin, Ireland. "Hypertension leads to stroke and heart attack as the major cause of death around the world. It is greater than malnutrition, cancer and AIDS."

Many low-incomecountries have a short supply of trained medical personnel, he said. "We have been able to provide an accurate, robust and inexpensive device to diagnose high blood pressure. It's a start. If we can't measure blood pressure, we certainly can't begin to treat hypertension."

The World Health Organization asked multiple companies to devise a blood pressure measuring device that was accurate, easy to use and solar powered. One device met their criteria. After initial testing showed the accuracy of the selected device, it was used in two centers in Uganda and one center in Zambia. Staff, trained on the fully automated device in about 15 minutes, took blood pressure readings on about 716 participants, using the new device and a standard one. They repeated the effort one month later. Both patients and healthcare professionals preferred the new device:

  • Eighty-five percent of healthcare professionals rated the solar device as good or very good primarily because of ease of use (88 percent) and the automated features (85 percent).
  • Seventy-nine percent considered the solar device an advantage over the standard device.
  • The majority of healthcare providers rated it best for its comfort, clearly legible readings, the cuff and the on/off switch.
  • After the first and final visit a month later for patient blood pressure readings, 97 percent of healthcare professionals favored the new device and would recommend its use.

"Solar energy eliminates the need for expensive rechargeable batteries in remote areas where electricity and the availability of batteries might be scarce, but sunlight is plentiful," O'Brien said. "It can be run on batteries, but it can also be left in the sunlight to charge, making it ideal for rural areas and use out in the bush."

The device costs about $32 (25 Euro), with significant savings from not having to provide and use batteries regularly, he said.

While the device initially fulfilled accuracy criteria for the European Society of Hypertension, it had less accuracy for diastolic blood pressure (the pressure when the heart relaxes) on a second testing and in the study. But it wouldn't be difficult for manufacturers to correct the device, O'Brien said. Moreover, systolic blood pressure (the pressure when the heart contracts) is the major contributor to cardiovascular events. "Systolic blood pressure is the blood pressure reading on which most decisions are made," O'Brien said.

Manufacturers of other devices, such as those used to record or measure blood sugar, cholesterol and electrocardiograms (ECG), might also be encouraged to fulfill the requirements of low income countries, he said. "We now hope to use the solar device to diagnose hypertension in pregnancy as a step towards reducing the very high maternal death rates from this illness in low income countries."

Co-authors are: Gianfranco Parati, M.D.; Michael Ochan Kilama, M.D.; Andrea Faini, M.D.; Elisa Facelli, M.D.; Kenneth Ochen, M.D.; Cyprian Opira, M.D.; Shanthi Mendis, M.D.; Jiguang Wang, M.D.; and Neil Atkins, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

The World Health Organization funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Solar-powered device affordable, reliable tool to measure blood pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108161212.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2010, November 8). Solar-powered device affordable, reliable tool to measure blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108161212.htm
American Heart Association. "Solar-powered device affordable, reliable tool to measure blood pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108161212.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins