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National Science Week: Cuffless blood pressure monitoring, a heartbeat away

National Science Week: Cuffless blood pressure monitoring, a heartbeat away

16 August 2023

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, Professor Mehmet Yuce has been working on a groundbreaking project aimed at transforming the way blood pressure is measured.

Put into practice, this Monash University research, funded by an ARC Linkages Project grant, may revolutionise the medical monitoring landscape.

Traditional blood pressure monitoring involves inflating a cuff, a process that can induce stress and discomfort, which can also lead to inaccurate readings.

“I wanted to create a more comfortable, accurate, and continuous method of measuring blood pressure,” Professor Yuce said.

“With the ARC grant, we developed a device in a form and size that people can wear comfortably, on their chest, near their heart, and it monitors blood pressure accurately and continuously.”

Eight years of research has gone into developing this apparatus.

“We developed the small device, which measures vital signals quite well. As part of this we had to develop an algorithm, which is a crucial part of this technology. The one that we have developed has been very successful in terms of comparing ourselves to our competitors in other countries. Our algorithm is a lot more advanced.”

The algorithm ensures accurate readings and minimises the disparities between a cuff-based blood pressure monitor and those obtained using their device.

The team would like to one day get Therapeutic Goods Administration approval, but they are not there yet.

They have undertaken some trials to demonstrate that the signals they get from the human body, wearing their small device, accurately measured blood pressure, using their algorithm.

The trials were very successful, and results have been published in international journals.

A big challenge that Professor Yuce and team are currently studying is to address the need for calibration. Medical practice relies heavily on cuff-based measurements, making it crucial for any new technology to align with this established standard.

Calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide a result for a sample with an acceptable range with the goal to minimise any measurement uncertainty by ensuring the accuracy of test equipment. 

To address this, Professor Yuce and team have been working on advanced algorithms that reduce or eliminate the need for frequent calibration.

Once the calibration has been perfected, it is hoped that Professor Yuce and team can partner with some large companies in this field to commercialise this device.

Professor Yuce’s research is driven by his desire to work on projects that help society and benefit humanity.

“When I did my PhD, my motivation was, since I’m going to be working hard it would be better if I work on some useful technologies that will eventually be used by people. I looked at what was missing and having worked in monitoring technologies for more than 15 years, I saw the gap,” Professor Yuce said.

“If you look at the healthcare environment, you can monitor an electrocardiogram (ECG) continuously, but you can’t monitor SpO2 (oxygen saturation) continuously. This is something we're also working on it to make it continuous as well. Similar to blood pressure, SpO2 is another health need that could be modernised with new technology.”

The team are now in the process of patenting their Sp02 research and talking to some companies to further investigate its viability.

“My team and I have been looking for that next generation of devices that can actually help humanity. Not just research but also have beneficial outcomes as well,” Professor Yuce said.

The cuffless blood pressure monitoring device highlights the potential of scientific research to transform healthcare practices and improve the lives of millions.

The Future Fellowships scheme facilitates research excellence by supporting outstanding mid-career researchers to undertake high quality research in areas of national and international benefit. For more information visit: Future Fellowships 2023 | Australian Research Council

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