Revolution in monitoring hypertension by new technologies

High blood pressure is a serious disease that can cause great damage in secret. A disruptive technology is now well on the way to replacing the over 100-year-old measuring method: Optical blood pressure measurement for continuous measurement without a pressure cuff.

Hypertension - the silent killer

According to the World Health Organization, more than one in three adults suffers from hypertension, a disease that causes 7.5 million deaths annually worldwide. The disease leads to strokes or heart attacks. High blood pressure causes hardly any discomfort. This is dangerous because it means that the disease is detected late and damage to the vascular system can already be present.


Classical blood pressure measurement - still like 100 years ago

The method, which has traditionally been used to measure blood pressure for over 100 years, is still the standard today: the blood flow is drawn off with a cuff and the systolic and diastolic values are recorded under relaxation via acoustic signals.

Anyone who has ever spent a few days in a monitored hospital ward with regular blood pressure measurement knows how uncomfortable and disturbing such a measurement is. The control measurements at the doctor's or at home are also neither convenient nor provide a continuous process. However, continuous measurement would be desirable because individual measurements are often distorted by disturbances such as excitement when visiting a doctor.


Optical blood pressure measurement - a disruptive technology

An optical measurement of cardiovascular parameters has been known for a long time: In photoplethysmography (PPG), vessels are illuminated through the skin and the light signals are analyzed. This has already been used for measurement of the pulse or oxygen saturation of blood. Interesting point here: also blood pressure influences the signal; but because the development of such a signal analysis is so demanding, no completely satisfactory solution has yet been found. Recetnly the oBPM™ technology (Optical Blood Pressure Monitoring) has been developed at CSEM. With the support of optical sensors and clinically validated algorithms, it enables a breakthrough in discrete and continuous pressure measurement.


From technology to start-up

Startup aktiia was founded in 2018 to take advantage of this technology and market a wristband that can collect this valuable data. "We want to develop an affordable, accurate and health authority certified measuring device," explains Mattia Bertschi, co-founder and CEO of the new company, adding: "The potential of such a product has helped to quickly bring together a solid international shareholder base. "The blood pressure monitor 2.0 will also improve the prevention of high blood pressure, better understand its causes and develop new therapeutic approaches," adds Josep Solà, co-founder and CTO of aktiia.