Say goodbye to those clunky blood pressure monitors.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M have created an electronic tattoo that will be able to take continuous blood pressure measurements with a higher accuracy level than nearly all other options on the market.
The electronic tattoo is made of graphene, is anatomically thin, lightweight, and is self-adhesive, so it can be worn comfortably for extended periods of time. Graphene is the thinnest material known to man, is 200 times stronger than steel and is a strong conductor of heat and electricity.
The wearable graphene patches operate with bioimpedance measurements, which use deep penetration of electrical currents to perform buried tissue sensing. Because the low-impedance sensors do not move or suffer from electrode misplacement, they can monitor blood pressure continuously for more than five hours.
“Monitoring blood flow is among the most basic practices of modern medicine. The blood circulatory system can be considered a whole-body interconnecting organ; hence, malfunctions of other organs will be reflected in the blood flow, making it a vital health biomarker for a variety of diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases that remain a lead-ing cause of mortality worldwide,” researchers said in a paper published at Nature Nanotechnology. “Nevertheless, it is known that proactive and continuous monitoring of blood pressure (BP) can prevent fatalities associated with cardiovascular diseases.”
Scientists hope that this continuous monitoring platform will allow them to analyze root causes of diseases and enhance disease prevention. The graphene bioelectronic interfaces will allow medical professionals to correlate individual behavior, daily habits, and lifestyle with blood pressure.
Roughly one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). High blood pressure usually has no warning signs, they say, and can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke. But, with early diagnosis, serious damage to one’s health from high blood pressure can be prevented.
The Texas researchers say that the next step in the development process will include integrating a wireless operation platform and data storage capability in the form of smart-watch technology.