I Have High Hopes for This Cuffless Blood Pressure Monitor. Here’s Why
Taking a blood pressure reading in the middle of a crowded CES show in Las Vegas is never a great idea, especially when you’re dehydrated and wearing a mask. But I had to try out Valencell’s finger clip blood pressure monitor announced at CES 2023 for myself because I really want it to work for my life. (For more on how the device works, read the story link above.)
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I have high blood pressure, take medication for it, and have been trying for years to find better solutions than a standard cuff. No one has broken it, really. Companies like Omron have produced watches with inflatable cuffs (which work) and others have tried to turn smartwatch heart rate sensors into blood pressure tools (which need calibration with a real cuff ).
The LED display shows your reading.
Valencell, a company that has been making optical heart rate sensors for wearables and other devices for years, has made its own device that it aims to release in 2023 and is pursuing Food and Drug Administration clearance as a push real blood over the counter. solution.
I last met Valencell in person at the last CES I attended in January 2020. We spoke again in 2021, when it looked like finger-based measuring devices were just around the corner. As with many wearables, the cleaning process has been slow. But this is the closest product to release I’ve seen from the company.
Taking blood pressure at #CES with @Valencell_Inc finger monitor, no calibration needed. It is slated for release later this year. No impulse for this, just BP. Welcome to BP reading! (it got better when I breathed and tested again). No pressure, right? pic.twitter.com/eJ13vyAlwD
— Scott Stein (@jetscott) January 4, 2023
The clip, which looks a lot like a small portable pulse oximetry device you can use to check blood oxygen, only needs your middle finger for a check instead it measures blood pressure and connects to an app on your phone.
The device is easy to use and feels like a pulse oximeter.
It doesn’t, however, do a pulse oximeter, for one reason: According to company co-founder Stephen LeBouef, who walked me through a self-test, the combination of health features in one device slows down the cleaning process. No company to date has come out with a clear next-generation blood pressure sensor in watches or wearables, though Samsung has tried and come close. Rather than plugging the technology into another consumer product and then submitting it for licensing, Valencell is simply getting the ball rolling on its own.
Now playing: Watch this: Valencell unveils finger blood pressure monitor
My blood pressure reading was high. It got better on the second read. First of all, I was dehydrated, tired, stressed, and wearing a mask, which can increase blood pressure readings. However, I didn’t have a blood pressure cuff to compare the readings with.
Valecell’s technology requires a profile setup that uses your height and weight to decide how algorithms interpret PPG (photoplethysmography, or the use of light to measure blood flow) as a blood pressure measurement. One drawback LeBouef mentions is that high blood pressure may not be read completely correctly: After a systolic pressure reading of 180 (which is too high, meaning you should go to a cardiologist right away), the readings specifics beyond that may not be as accurate. But at that point, in theory you would know that your blood pressure was still high.
A look inside the prototype: A single PPG sensor handles the measurement.
Valencell is targeting around $99 for the price, although the prototype I used is still in development and things could change. That’s more than some existing inflatable cuffs, but not as high as I expected.
It’s much more portable than a handcuff and, if it works as promised, could be a big help. This sounds more like a device you would use to check in and follow up with a handcuff read to confirm. But if it meant more spot checks than I usually do with my inflated cuff, that alone might be worth it.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.