The objective of this project is to create an unobtrusive, wrist-worn, cuff-less blood pressure monitor for measurement and identification of nocturnal nondipping hypertension. The investigation includes extensive validation with state-of-the-art ambulatory blood pressure monitors at nighttime in presence of heterogeneous treatment paradigms. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the major causes of ailments worldwide. Hypertension alone affects one in three adults according to the World Health Organization. Therefore, monitoring blood pressure has become a critical part of healthcare as it is known to be linked to many CVDs. Traditionally, clinical practitioners have relied on the mercury-based (or digital equivalent) inflatable cuff-based sphygmomanometer. However, the nature of the device allows for only infrequent measurements and its somewhat invasive nature and associated discomfort prohibits additional nocturnal measurements. There is certainly a value to measuring blood pressure continuously in the natural context of the user?s environment, in particular during sleep, without being disturbed by the instrument. Our proposed technology can provide a wealth of information to physicians, help identify certain short-term dynamics/variations of blood pressure, and allow effective monitoring of response to medication, among other things. Nocturnal measurements provide additional prognostic value in identifying risk. Despite these benefits, no wearable, non-invasive device for continuous blood pressure monitoring exists on the market simply because none have been reliable enough to be considered clinical grade. This project aims to develop a robust and reliable blood pressure monitor in the form of a wrist-worn device that uses bio-impedance sensors, and for the first time, demonstrate clinical grade reliability. These sensors measure pulse wave velocity (PWV) along with several other derivatives for cardiovascular parameters including heart rate and blood volume changes in arteries, which correlate with the blood pressure. The system will incorporate clever hardware design to localize underlying vasculature and focus on arterial sites for enhanced accuracy. The device will include a motion sensor to take into account the user?s movements and motion artifacts, the contact quality, and reliability of the measurements. Advanced machine learning techniques, leveraging both general and personalized models, will be developed to convert bio-impedance measurements to blood pressure. This project aims to then validate the system and analytics in both a healthy patient cohort and a hypertensive cohort, learning the impact that nocturnal ?nondipping? hypertension and anti-hypertensive treatments have on PWV/other cardiovascular correlates and blood pressure estimates. After decades of relying on the inflatable cuff- based technique, this system could represent a significant change in how we measure blood pressure.

Public Health Relevance

Continuous monitoring of nocturnal blood pressure can help early diagnosis of developing cardiac conditions, reveal short term blood pressure variations, and also help the physician monitor differences in variations in response to medication for hypertensive patients. Moreover, the comfort and convenience of a wearable monitor would allow measurement in the natural context of daily life, including important nocturnal measurements, and reduce the burden of adherence on the user. The system will also provide feedback on quality of measurements to allow the users or care-givers to gauge reliability.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences Study Section (CICS)
Program Officer
Einhorn, Paula T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Texas Engineering Experiment Station
Biomedical Engineering
Biomed Engr/Col Engr/Engr Sta
College Station
United States
Zip Code