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Geckos and blood monitoring

Geckos can stick to just about anything, and their feet are inspiring researchers to change how medical professionals can monitor blood pressure.

The small reptilians’ toe pads are covered in thin hairs called setae, which is what adheres to surfaces.

Researchers are using gecko feet to improve the adhesion of cuff-less 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.

Cuff-based devices are most commonly used to track changes in blood pressure, as well as diagnose hypertension, but the devices come with their own set of limitations. The cuff periodically inflates and deflates every 15 minutes or so, even when the patient is trying to sleep. Monitoring blood pressure during sleep is crucial for medical professionals, but interrupting patients’ sleep can cause misreadings during clinical observation.

Cuffless blood pressure monitoring devices would not only improve patient sleep, but provide medical professionals with a more effective clinical approach to diagnosing hypertension, the researchers claim.

The team will design wearable tonometric sensors at arterial sites on the neck and ankle, which will collect tonometric waveforms and pulse transit time (PTT) – or the time it takes for the pulse to travel between two arterial sites – simultaneously.

Ultimately, the team plans to combine high-fidelity arterial tonometry and PTT principles to achieve cuffless 24-hour blood pressure monitoring.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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