E-Tattoo Developed for Continuous Mobile Blood Pressure Monitoring.

E-Tattoo developed for continuous mobile blood pressure measurement

One of the most crucial indicators of heart health is blood pressure. However, it is difficult to measure blood pressure reliably and often outside of a medical setting. For several years now, cuff-based devices that are compressed around the arm to provide a reading have been the benchmark.

Image Credit: The University of Texas at Austin

Currently, scientists from The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and Texas A&M University have developed an electronic tattoo that can be easily worn on the wrist for hours on end and that provides uninterrupted blood pressure readings with an accuracy that surpasses nearly all competitive products available on the market today.

Blood pressure is the most important vital sign you can measure, but the methods of doing this passively, without a cuff, outside the clinic are very limited.

Deji Akinwande, Project Co-Leader and Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UT Austin

The study appeared in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

High blood pressure can lead to serious heart disease if left unchecked. It can be difficult to capture with a conventional blood pressure monitor because it measures just a moment in time, a single data point.

Taking irregular blood pressure measurements has many limitations and does not provide insight into exactly how our body functions.

Roozbeh Jafari, Project Leader and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M

The uninterrupted monitoring of the e-tattoo allows blood pressure measurements in all kinds of situations: during periods of high stress, while sleeping, during exercise, etc. It can provide thousands of measurements more than any other device to date.

Mobile health tracking has made huge strides in recent years, thanks mainly to technology like smartwatches. These devices use metal sensors that obtain measurements from LED light sources irradiated through the skin.

However, top smartwatches are not yet ready for blood pressure measurement. That’s because the watches tend to slide around the wrist and can be far from arteries, making it difficult to convey exact measurements. In addition, the light-based measurements may waver in people with larger wrists and/or darker skin tones.

Graphene is one of the thinnest and strongest materials available, and it is a staple of the e-tattoo. It is similar to graphite found in pencils, but the atoms are specifically organized in thin layers.

E-tattoos make more sense as a mobile blood pressure tracking vehicle because they’re housed in a sticky, flexible material that encases the sensors. They are comfortable to wear for a long time and do not shift.

The sensor for the tattoo is weightless and unobtrusive. You put it there. You don’t even see it and it doesn’t move. You need the sensor to stay in the same place because if you happen to move it, the readings will be different.

Roozbeh Jafari, Project Leader and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M

The device records its measurements by shooting an electrical current into the skin and then examining the body’s response, which is called bioimpedance. There is a relationship between bioimpedance and variations in blood pressure related to variations in blood volume.

However, the relationship isn’t particularly clear, so the researchers had to develop a machine learning model to investigate the compound to obtain accurate blood pressure readings.

In the medical field, cuffless blood pressure monitoring is the “holy grail,” Jafari said, but there is no viable commercial solution yet. It’s part of a larger effort in medicine to use technology to detach patients from machines while collecting more information wherever they are, so they can move from room to room, clinic to clinic and still receive personalized care.

All of this data could help create a digital twin to model the human body, predict and show how it might respond and respond to treatments over time.

Deji Akinwande, Project Co-Leader and Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UT Austin

Project team members include Dmitry Kireev and Neelotpala Kumar of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin; Ali Akbari of Texas A&M’s Division of Biomedical Engineering; and Kaan Sel and Bassem Ibrahim of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Texas A&M. The study received support through grants from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research and National Institutes of Health.

Magazine reference:

Kireev, D., et al† (2022) Continuous cuffless monitoring of arterial blood pressure via graphene bioimpedance tattoos. Nature Nanotechnologydoi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01145-w

Source: https://utexas.edu

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