Scientists have designed a highly dependable solar powered blood pressure monitoring device, which may assist in cutting cardiovascular disease by enabling affordable testing in under-priviledged nations.
The automated device is being claimed as equally accurate as the standard device that measures systolic blood pressure and eliminates the need for batteries, which are expensive and scarce in low economic settings.
Health professionals and patients when tested in Africa favored the device.
"The incidence of hypertension is rising dramatically in these countries. Hypertension leads to stroke and heart attack as the major cause of death around the world. It is greater than malnutrition, cancer and AIDS," said lead author of the study, Eoin O'Brien of University College Dublin in Ireland.
He also mentioned that many low-income countries have a short supply of trained medical personnel.
"We have been able to provide an accurate, robust and inexpensive device to diagnose high blood pressure. It's a start. If we can't measure blood pressure, we certainly can't begin to treat hypertension," O'Brien added.
Staff, trained on the fully automated device in about 15 minutes, took blood pressure readings on about 716 participants, using the new device and a standard one. They repeated the effort one month later.
Eighty-five percent of healthcare professionals rated the solar device as good or very good primarily because of ease of use and the automated features whereas seventy-nine percent considered the solar device an advantage over the standard device.
The study is published in 'Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association'.