Ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM) is more accurate and therefore more useful than anecdotal measurement in clinical settings, especially those that require 24-hour monitoring. The American Heart Association’s recent scientific statement on blood pressure measurement practices took a strong stance in favor of ABPM to replace traditional BP measurement procedures with new regimens using the traditional oscillometric method that uses a cuff to compress the patient’s arm. Most oscillometric systems use a motor-driven diaphragm pump to measure systolic and diastolic pressure while slowly deflating a brachial cuff pumped up to a level higher than the systolic pressure.

TTP Ventus developed a Disc Pump based on a piezoelectric micropump integrated with a brachial cuff. The compact, lightweight disc pump doesn’t use a hose between the pump and cuff so it’s less cumbersome for patients. The TTP Venus device is quiet and vibration-free when in use, making it less likely to awaken patients while they sleep. Most pumps cycle a few times per second while inflating a cuff, but the Disc Pump works at ultrasonic frequencies — cycling more than 20,000 times per second — which makes it silent.

The most notable functional difference between the TTP Venus Disc Pump and traditional systems is that measurements are taken during inflation, not deflation. Each cycle moves less than a microliter of air, rendering the sensation unnoticeable. Because the Disc Pump measures blood pressure during inflation, it isn’t necessary to apply a compression force higher than the systolic pressure.

The Disc Pump has not yet been integrated into commercially available blood pressure monitoring systems, although TTP Ventus reports numerous medical equipment companies are testing it. Because this monitoring technology is relatively unobtrusive, the potential for home use is pretty exciting.