Many people could be unaware they have high blood pressure – or hypertension – because they may have no obvious symptoms.
But hypertension can have significant health impacts, potentially leading to stroke, vision and kidney damage, or cause a heart attack.
That level of risk underlines the importance of regular blood pressure checks.
However, a blood pressure check with a nurse or physician can also have challenges as some people are affected by what is known as “white coat” hypertension (where office-based pressures are elevated and out-of-office pressures are normal), or “masked” hypertension (where office-based blood pressure is normal but out-of-office pressures are elevated).
This is where 24/7 continuous monitoring, particularly at night-time, can have benefits and give physicians a clearer overview of a patient’s blood pressure readings.
However, while conventional ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) equipment can take measurements at regular intervals for 24 hours, it is limited by long measuring time, low sampling rate, and constrained measuring posture. and can cause sleep disturbance, and may not provide realistic nocturnal measurements.
Blood pressure monitoring
The latest evolution of the Sky Labs CART-I smart ring – which has already been shown to help in the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF) with constant monitoring to highlight irregular heart rhythms – will shortly be available to support continuous blood pressure monitoring and may offer a solution.
The compact and stylish black ring can continuously and discreetly monitor the vital signs of blood pressure and pulse rate using photoplethysmography (PPG) signals to measure the bloodstream 24/7 through the wearer’s finger.
PPG is regarded as an effective low-cost technology that can be applied to various aspects of cardiovascular monitoring, with PPG signal-based blood pressure (BP) estimation is now emerging as a promising candidate for modern BP measurements.
Via a PPG sensor, the smart ring gathers data which are transmitted to a cloud platform for analysis by artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The new feature of Sky Labs’ CART-I plus medical device enables it to constantly monitor hypertension without user intervention.
As well as identifying rises, or dips, in a patient’s blood pressure at any time of the day or night, including episodes of white coat hypertension or masked hypertension, the constant 24/7 measure is of particular value in highlighting nocturnal hypertension as it is less invasive than traditional night-time (ABPM).
Night-time blood pressure monitoring is important as nocturnal hypertension may still be behind an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Non-invasive and cuffless blood pressure measurement is a key technology to manage hypertension continuously and conveniently.
Sky Labs is currently running a clinical study on the use of the smart ring for BP monitoring, with results due to be published early next year for continuous blood pressure monitoring.
Alongside AF monitoring, the smart ring has the potential to collect data for measurements of oxygen saturation (SpO2), heart rate, and electrocardiogram (ECG), with the autonomous cuffless blood pressure readings via CART-I plus available in Korea early in 2023 and soon after in Europe and the US.
A characteristic of chronic diseases is that they often require a long period of supervision, observation, or care. In addition, 24-hour monitoring can help establish treatment strategies such as the type and dose of prescription drugs.
The ring enables people to manage and track their health data continuously and automatically, does not impact on comfort or lifestyle, and has value for people who live significant distances away from the hospital or have work schedules or other commitments that make it difficult for them to visit their physician in person.
Sky Labs CEO Jack Lee said: “Home blood pressure monitoring is empowering and improves our ability to identify and treat hypertension, and to prevent strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and cardiovascular death.”