Monitoring the blood pressure with a cellphone?
Many people make short videos and so-called selfies, for example to represent their daily routine on social media. Researchers have now found that selfie videos can also be used to effectively monitor blood pressure.
A recent study from the University of Toronto found that it is possible to use short selfie videos to monitor blood pressure. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging".
Mobile phone was equipped with special imaging software
With the help of a mobile camera equipped with specialized imaging software, the researchers were able to determine the blood flow patterns of 1,328 people. To do this, they recorded subtle changes in ambient light as it settled on the skin. Compared to other blood pressure measurement techniques, using a cell phone is initially much cheaper.
What was the accuracy of the method?
On average, systolic blood pressure was predicted by using a cellphone with an accuracy of nearly 95 percent, while the accuracy of diastolic blood pressure and pulse pressure was nearly 96 percent, the research team reports. All study participants had normal blood pressure. The footage was captured in a controlled, fixed-lighting environment and it is unclear how well the technology would work in other environments. However, the results are a major breakthrough, the researchers explain.
Further research is needed
If future studies confirm the results and show that this method can be used to control high or low blood pressure, this is a non-contact and non-viable method for proper blood pressure monitoring. Such a blood pressure check could be done anytime, anywhere. The researchers hope to continue testing their technology by studying more people with extremely dark or light skin tones by the method. They also want to reduce the required video from two minutes to 30 seconds. According to the British Heart Foundation, a successful launch of the method alone in the UK could have a major impact on more than 14 million people with high blood pressure. It is estimated that more than a third of these cases were undiagnosed.
Results could improve treatment for high blood pressure
This innovative study is a powerful example of how data from mobile technology can be utilized and analyzed using modern machine learning methods to potentially improve cardiovascular care. If further research confirms that the new approach works for people with drastically different skin tones, blood pressure and normal habitats, it could help diagnose and treat high blood pressure and greatly facilitate monitoring and treatment. (How)
- Hong Luo, Deye Yang, Andrew Barszczyk, Naresh Vempala, Jing Wei et al .: Smartphone-based Blood Pressure Measurement with Transdermal Optical Imaging Technology, in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging (Request: 08.08.2019), Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging