A group of prominent blood pressure experts are acknowledging the potential of cuffless blood pressure (BP) monitors and calling on international scientific and expert associations to include them in future versions of guidelines and standards.

A new paper published in Frontiers in Medical Technology and authored by the aforementioned experts, which includes clinical and academic leaders, compares traditional and cuffless BP monitors for the first time, and makes a compelling argument for greater use of cuffless devices.

Using real-world, clinical trial, and observational data from people using Aktiia, a continual cuffless BP monitor worn at the wrist, the paper compares readings to those from traditional methods in a number of scenarios. It draws a clear conclusion that the cuffless device provides a richer and more representative picture of a person’s blood pressure over time.

“The ability to measure blood pressure automatically without disrupting the patient’s day is the real game-changer with cuffless devices,” says Jay Shah, MD, chief medical officer at Aktiia and a practising cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. “Cuffless allows many more readings to be taken throughout a person’s day and over long periods of time, which unlocks the concept of ‘time in target range’ as opposed to a snapshot reading to try to assess a patient’s blood pressure. For example, there is a known association between CV risk and night time BP, but getting an accurate picture of how a person’s blood pressure behaves at night has been elusive until now. The benefits of automatic and continual readings must not be underestimated – it’s an incredibly exciting time.”

Research shows even a very motivated patient is unlikely to provide more than 30 readings a month, and in fact, half of hypertensive patients report never taking their BP at home, 10% check it less than once a month and only 24% more than once a week.

Cuffless BP monitors, when clinically validated, have also been found to be as accurate as traditional devices. In a trial of ambulatory versus cuffless it was found that the difference in readings was below the error margin for any device currently on the market, meaning patients and clinicians can have a high degree of confidence in using them. Aktiia also provides a way for a person to easily share their BP data with their provider, which means clinicians can have a greater oversight of the patient’s BP between office visits.

Hypertension is one of the biggest health burdens globally, and an area in which little progress has been seen for a long time. This new paper argues that cuffless monitoring could represent a new frontier in BP management, which would ultimately save lives. As such, the paper’s authors and leading experts in BP are calling on international scientific and expert associations to include cuffless BP monitors in research and future versions of guidelines and standards, in order to facilitate their roll out among clinicians globally.

Featured image: Aktiia ecosystem. Photo: Aktiia