Blood Pressure Monitoring Off the Cuff

  • October 15, 2018
    Photo: J. Choi/Northwestern University

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    Blood pressure is normally monitored using a cuff wrapped around the upper arm, but new research could one day lead to a cuffless, noninvasive way to measure blood pressure.

    Blood pressure reflects both physical health and emotional states. Traditionally, doctors measure this vital sign using an inflating cuff that applies pressure against the arm to stop blood flow and slowly releases this outside pressure to help sensors detect the amount of pressure in the blood as it surges back into the arm.

    Researchers would like to monitor the blood pressure of people while they are engaged in a variety of activities to help shed light on precisely how this vital sign fluctuates after exercise or mood swings. However, cuffs that repeatedly impede blood flow can damage the body over time, limiting how much data standard blood pressure monitors can gather. As such, doctors would prefer cuffless techniques for blood pressure monitoring.

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