Accurate blood pressure measurement

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


The current clinical problem: raised arterial blood pressure (hypertension) is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiovascular disease causes 17 million deaths per annum globally with complications arising from high blood pressure accounting for 9.4 million, split evenly between stroke and heart disease (World Health Organization, Global Status Report on non-communicable diseases 2014, "Attaining the nine global non-communicable diseases targets; a shared responsibility"). The WHO reported that 'Cardiovascular disease causes more than half of all deaths across the European Region'. The first important step in correctly diagnosing hypertension is in the accurate measurement of blood pressure (BP). This research project will result in an effective diagnostic device that will have the potential to displace all current devices on the market.

There is a worldwide need for accurate blood pressure measurement. The "gold standard" is the manual method, with an experienced clinician listening to the stethoscope Korotkoff sounds and viewing a cuff pressure scale. However, this is increasingly being underused because of the training needed and the time required for the measurement in busy clinics, and is almost never used for self measurement at home. The current undesirable move to replace manual by automated devices (they all unfortunately use the oscillometric technique) can result in radically different measurements on the same patient for different devices. Inaccurate measurement is such a problem that the UK Department of Health has had to issue several Warning Notices about current automated devices.

The aim of our research is to develop a novel technique for accurately and automatically measuring blood pressure. Our previous EPSRC research made observations that are now the basis of this proposed research, and were sufficiently novel to enable a patent application.

Working with our Industrial Partner will enable this research development to be taken to a marketable product available for hospital or home use.

The ultimate benefit will be for patients and clinicians who will be able to diagnose high blood pressure and monitor treatment more effectively than now. Since the technology is a radically new departure it will open up avenues for academic research in engineering and clinical medicine.

Planned Impact

The most important impact will be for patients who suffer from high blood pressure, who stand to have their blood pressure better monitored, and be given more appropriate treatment. It will stimulate further the use of home monitoring devices, which with reliable and stable measurements will encourage patients to change their lifestyle to reduce their blood pressure. Reliable measurements will be welcomed by clinical and nursing staff, who will have better monitoring, and better confidence in the treatment selected. It will enable automated measurements to be made with confidence, freeing up some time during medical consultations. Overall this should lead to improved public health.

There will be an impact on how new drugs are evaluated, simplifying the clinical trials, and potentially bringing new drugs to the market quicker.

The greatest financial impact will be with manufacturers of medical devices that manufacture blood pressure devices, who may need to make significant changes in their production.

impact will be made on international standards, and the testing and validation of these devices will need to change.
Description Characteristic features of the cuff pressure during manual or automated blood pressure measurement
Exploitation Route They should improve clinical blood pressure measurement.
Sectors Healthcare

Description The patent to protect the intellectual property has been published. We are still working on responses to patent examinations. The main commercial medical device manufacturers have been contacted, and the research technique demonstrated. Work is ongoing to independently prove the accuracy of the technique.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Societal

Description Healthcare Impact Partnership
Amount £370,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 07/2019
Description Academic collaborator: Dr John Amoore 
Organisation Crosshouse Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Dr John Amoore provide advice on commercial automatic blood pressure devices.
Collaborator Contribution Advice and publications
Impact Publication in Computing in Cardiology
Start Year 2008
Description Academic collaborator: Dr Stephan Mieke 
Organisation Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Stephan Mieke collaborated with the blood pressure simulator. We also worked closely with him in the International Standards bodies to use the insights gained to develop the current international standards.
Collaborator Contribution Work on international standards
Impact Publication in Computing in Cardiology
Start Year 2008
Description Commercial Partner: Mr Adrian Cossor 
Organisation AC Cossor & Son (Surgical)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Support of Mr Adrian Cossor, managing director of AC Cossor and manufacturer of the Accoson range of blood pressure devices, the only such devices manufactured in the UK. We have worked together over the Accoson electronic greenlight device, in which he invested significantly and which is returning royalties to Newcastle University and Newcastle NHS Trust. Mr Cossor contributed very positively for this project.
Collaborator Contribution Assistance with cuffs, and clinical measurement advice
Impact Continuing collaboration
Start Year 2008
Description New blood pressure measurement technique 
IP Reference PCT/GB2016/051065 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact Independent assessment of accuracy
Title Medical device 
Description Patent submitted, and in discussion with manufacturers 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2018
Development Status Actively seeking support
Impact Better diagnosis 
Description Standards 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact To develop and improve international standards
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019