Fitbit has started a study to determine whether wearables can be used to measure blood pressure directly on the wrist.
Examination of the pulse arrival time on the wrist
High blood pressure is very dangerous. Especially because the symptoms are rarely obvious. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Although it is already possible to measure blood pressure with small, portable blood pressure monitors that are attached to the wrist, for example, most people do not have such a device and can only have their blood pressure measured when they visit a doctor. Because there may be a long time between appointments, symptoms of high blood pressure will be recognized later.
Fitbit Labs has now started a month-long study to find out to what extent Fitbit devices can measure the so-called Pulse Arrival Time (PAT). This is the time it takes for a pulse of blood to reach the wrist after the heart beats. In addition, a possible connection between PAT and blood pressure will be investigated.
Previous internal research has shown a correlation between PAT and blood pressure. Now Fitbit Labs wants to expand this and learn more about how PAT measurements change under different conditions.
“If high blood pressure was easier to measure, people could get it treated sooner, which could help prevent preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke,” said Shelten Yuen, Fitbit principal scientist who leads the study. “Much remains to be done to understand how this works best. However, in the past we have evolved technology to bring previously inaccessible health data to Fitbit users from their wrist. Therefore, this is a challenge that is very important to us to solve, ”said Yuen.
Easy access to blood measurements is particularly important for people with high blood pressure. If measurement with wearables were possible, patients could also record and monitor their values between visits to the doctor.
Fitbit Sense users in the USA who are at least 20 years old and who have received a notification via the app can participate.
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