Testing cuff-free blood pressure measurement

Published: 14 February 2024

Text: Anne-Marie Korseberg Stokke

Photo: Angelique Culvin-Riccot

Elevated blood pressure increases the risk of several diseases, and since high blood pressure can easily go unnoticed, it makes sense to measure it occasionally. But have you ever noticed feeling a bit more tense when the blood pressure cuff tightens around your arm? At the Health2B offices in Oslo Science Park, volunteers have tested a new type of blood pressure monitor – without the cuff.

“A phenomenon called White Coat Hypertension can cause stress during blood pressure measurement at the doctor's office, artificially elevating the readings. When there is suspicion of this being the case based on a single measurement, it is often appropriate to conduct a 24-hour blood pressure measurement. This is done by wearing a device and cuff around the upper arm that inflates 2-3 times per hour, both day and night. Many find this both inconvenient and uncomfortable, and some may even hesitate to undergo the measurement”, says Dr Christine Hove.

Hove is a specialist in nephrology and is currently pursuing a doctorate at Oslo University Hospital, where she will collect blood pressure data using new Norwegian health technology. The HyperSension 2.0 project is funded through the User-Driven Innovation Arena program from the Research Council of Norway and is a collaboration between Aidee Health AS, SINTEF, Sandefjord Helsepark, and Oslo University Hospital.

Sensor-Based Measurement

The blood pressure monitor Aidee EmBody is developed by Aidee Health. It is a small device that is placed on either the upper arm or as a regular strap around the chest. Aidee Embody continuously measures blood pressure using a sophisticated sensor. A total of 81 volunteers from Oslo Science Park and other workplaces have tested this monitor for 24 hours.

“We are very pleased with this clinical data collection. Many have willingly participated, and we have obtained good data”, says Hove.

One of the volunteers is Ralph Groen, CCO at Evyon. He has worn a traditional blood pressure monitor on his arm for 24 hours, in addition to an Aidee EmBody sensor around his chest and one on his upper arm. The test concludes with a short ride on an exercise bike inside the Health2B meeting room with Dr Christine Hove.

 “I work in a startup myself and think it's great to contribute to the development and testing of solutions for other companies. I also want to contribute to research and the development of better treatment for patients”, says Groen.

Besides being a geologist, Groen is an active cyclist and is interested in knowing as much as possible about how his body works.

“It's cool to get more data, and blood pressure is of course a key metric.”

Doctor Christine Hove performs measurements with both a traditional blood pressure monitor and Aidee EmBody.

Better health data

“It was very convenient to come here to Oslo Science Park and Health2B to conduct this clinical test. Participants are more likely to say yes if they don't have to travel down to Ullevål”, says Hove.

Now the data will be analyzed and hopefully result in a scientific paper. The goal is then to validate Aidee Embody and launch the product in 2026.

“Ultimately, such sensor-based continuous blood pressure monitors may also be used in hospitals. Patients in intensive care units currently have their blood pressure continuously measured through a needle in the artery. This is not done for less ill patients in regular wards. By using sensor-based measurements on these patients, more information can be obtained about their health status without nurses having to manually take measurements several times an hour”, says Hove.