The search is underway for valid, reliable blood pressure measurement technology capable of continuous monitoring with little or no patient effort or encumbrance. The need for significant advances in blood pressure monitoring technology is more apparent than ever before. New American Heart Association blood pressure thresholds have increased the ratio of U.S. adults with hypertension from the CDC’s earlier 1-in-3 ratio to 1-in-2. We continue to cover new technology to measure, monitor, and report blood pressure levels. Still, the gold standard technology — upper arm cuff measurements — are cumbersome and have low patient self-monitoring compliance rates. We have written about Michigan State University work-in-progress on a sensor-equipped smartphone case and  Leman Micro Devices’ (LMD) light sensor built into a smartphone, with more in the pipeline.

CSEM, the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, is a private nonprofit research center founded in 1984. The organization focuses on microtechnology, nanotechnology, microelectronics, system engineering, photovoltaics, and communications technologies. CSEM does not produce commercial products. The most group’s most recent spinoff is Aktiia, which promises a revolution in oBPM, cuffless optical blood pressure monitoring at the wrist. According to CSEM, the Aktiia technology builds on 15 years of experience, has a strong patent portfolio, and has been the subject of more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, with four clinical trials in acute and low-acute settings involving three university hospitals and 150 patients. In December 2017 Josep Solà, Aktiia’s CTO, was awarded the Neode Prize for the Optical Blood Pressure Monitoring Project.

Aktiia expects its product to be available “around 2020.” Few specifics about Aktiia’s technology are public. A search of Solà’s research and studies involving alternative blood pressure measurement from 2006 to 2018 find he has investigated many technologies. In concert with others, he has investigated 3D gated electrocardiogram (ECG), electrical impedance tomography (EIT), pulse arrival time (PAT), photoplethysmography (PPG), and more. The best guess at this time is that Aktiia’s eventual product will use either PPG alone or PPG in combination with blood oximetry or pulse wave transit time (PWTT). Perhaps a combination of the three technologies using AI to sort the data relationships will be the magic combination. It will be interesting to see what Aktiia and others bring forth in this important quest.