Solar-Powered Monitor Could Save Lives

There are regions of the world where batteries, such as the kind that power your standard device for measuring systolic blood pressure, can be prohibitively expensive.  This is a problem for those health professionals who struggle to bring basic services to these areas–but a new, solar-powered blood pressure monitor may offer a solution.

This new blood pressure monitor–currently undergoing testing in Uganda and Zambia–could help to provide affordable and reliable blood pressure testing in low-income countries, thereby helping to slow the worldwide increase in cardiovascular disease in low income countries, according to research published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Solar Blood Monitor

image via UCD

“The incidence of hypertension is rising dramatically in these countries,” said Eoin O’Brien, M.D., lead author of the study, a professor at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research at the University College Dublin in Belfield, Dublin, Ireland. He goes on to note that hypertension leads to stroke and heart attack, the major cause of death around the world–a threat greater than malnutrition, cancer and AIDS.

This device was developed after the World Health Organization asked multiple companies to devise a blood pressure measuring device that was accurate, easy to use and solar powered. One device met their criteria, and after initial testing demonstrated its accuracy, it was used in two centers in Uganda and one center in Zambia. Healthcare professionals in the test centers reportedly embraced the advantages of this new device, shown to be 94 percent in agreement with the standard testing method for systolic blood pressure.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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