Novel Ultrasound Patch Developed To Monitors Deep Body Blood Pressure

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Researchers from University of California San Diego developed ultrasound patch’s island-bridge structure, which can be deformed without damaging the electronics

Scientists developed a flexible ultrasound patch in early 2018, allowing users to visualize inner structure of irregular-shaped objects. Recently the team developed device to measures a patient’s blood pressure deep within the body. Most of the times blood pressure is measures using arm cuff, which is known as peripheral blood pressure. It is different than central blood pressure, which is the pressure within the central blood vessels that deliver blood straight from the heart to other major organs. Central blood pressure indicates accurate blood pressure than peripheral, which also indicates risk of developing heart disease. However, the standard method of measuring central blood pressure requires catheter insertion into a blood vessel of the neck, groin or arm and then guiding it to the heart.

New ultrasound patch comprises a thin silicone elastomer sheet that’s patterned with ‘islands’ of electrodes and piezoelectric transducers, linked together by springy copper wire ‘bridges’ – this setup allows it to stretch, bend and twist without damage to the electronics, and is known as an island-bridge structure. The device is adhered to the skin and hard-wired to a power source and data processing unit. Furthermore, it produces ultrasound waves to monitor the diameter of pulsing major blood vessels located up to 4 cm (1.6 inches) beneath the skin. The data processor translates that data into a real-time central blood pressure reading.

To examine the efficiency of device, a volunteer wore one on his foot, neck, wrist and forearm, both while sitting still and performing exercise. The readings obtained were more accurate than those gathered with a tonometer, and similar to those from a blood vessel-inserted catheter. Furthermore, researchers are working on integrating a power source, processor and wireless communications system into the patch to measure blood pressure and transmit \readings as a standalone device. A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering in September 2018.

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