Blood pressure monitors are a common at-home tool for monitoring heart health, but they don’t look at the health of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels. And endothelial function is a powerful predictor of heart attack and stroke. Berkeley Lab has developed a technology using cuffs, like those used for taking blood pressure, to monitor both endothelial function and endothelium-independent vasodilation. Studies on human subjects have verified that the cuff-based method is more sensitive and costs a fraction of the current method.
What if checking the state of your arterial health were as simple as monitoring your blood pressure? New technology developed by Jonathan Maltz, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging division, could make this a reality. Maltz came up with the idea of using sensors to detect the changes in the pulse pressure as blood flows through the brachial artery, a major vessel in the upper arm. Previous studies have shown a strong correlation between the health of brachial and coronary arteries. With initial funding from a Berkeley Lab Innovation Grant, Maltz developed an advanced prototype called the Engevity Cuff, which looks and feels much like a blood pressure monitor. He worked with UC San Francisco (UCSF) chief cardiologist Jeffrey Olgin and his team, who are conducting a major heart health study, to test the device on real patients. Last fall, startup company Lexington Biosciences licensed the technology to help further refine the device and bring it to the medical market.