How Apple could turn the Apple Watch into a blood pressure monitor

“In September, Apple announced an electrocardiogram, or EKG, for its upcoming [sic] Apple Watch [released September 21, 2018], to help users at risk for a medical condition known as atrial fibrillation,” Christina Farr reports for CNBC. “But Apple’s end-game might be much bigger: Turning the Apple Watch into a blood pressure monitor, potentially helping tens of millions of people who suffer from high blood pressure.”

“‘I think Apple is going after the biggest measurement in health care and they’re going to disrupt it,’ said Graeme Moffat, a chief scientist at the brain sensing company Interaxon, who closely follows the biomedical space,” Farr reports. “Moffat noticed that in October 2017, Apple was granted a patent for a system to approximate blood pressure using data that could be obtained with sensors, such as ‘pulse transit time.'”

“Pulse transit time means the time delay for the pressure wave to travel between two sites in an artery. It can potentially be measured by analyzing data from a pulse sensor on the wrist, and an EKG sensor that measures the waves as they leave the heart. The new Apple Watch Series 4 contains both,” Farr reports. “More than 100 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious health prooblems. By contrast, only 2.7 million people have atrial fibrillation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Turning Apple Watch into a cuff-less blood pressure monitor would be yet another stellar selling point. Not quite as big as a non-invasive glucose monitor, but still a major selling point for hundreds of millions worldwide!

SEE ALSO:
Apple patent application reveals sophisticated way for Apple Watch to measure blood pressure – October 5, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been test-driving a device that tracks his blood sugar, connected to his Apple Watch – May 18, 2017
Apple reportedly working on incorporating blood glucose sensor into Apple Watch – May 15, 2017
Apple secret team reportedly working holy grail for treating diabetes; initially envisioned by Steve Jobs – April 12, 2017
Apple patent details Apple Watch smart bands – January 24, 2017
Emails between Apple and FDA hint at future plans – December 1, 2016
Analyst: Apple smartbands are a part of the Apple Watch’s future – April 8, 2016
Apple patent application hints at Apple Watch ‘Smartbands’ utilizing hidden 6-pin data connector – February 20, 2016
Why Apple’s iWatch won’t measure glucose levels – February 26, 2014

16 Comments

  1. Thing about BP is it changes from minute to minute. So if you test 3 times in a row, it is different every time. That being said, as long as the user understands this and doesn’t create a panic situation, should be good.

    1. The SW does so many things – medical applications are just one aspect of AW. Besides, how many more stand-alone medical devices does the AW have to replace to represent a good value to you in addition to heart rate and single-sensor ECG?

      With respect to your comparison – how many times a day are you going to use that home unit? Do you want to carry it around with you? One of the key benefits of Apple Watch and other wearables is frequent/continuous monitoring to help establish trends and correlations, even if the measurements are a bit less accurate.

      The AW is not just a watch or a phone or a GPS or….

      1. “With respect to your comparison – how many times a day are you going to use that home unit? Do you want to carry it around with you? ”

        You know nothing of having high blood pressure. You’re just an investor.

        1. As a physician, I know quite a bit about high blood pressure and measuring it has a lot more applicability than following your daily BP measures. It can be used to track overall vital signs on the move, which for some is critical. It can measure the effects of exercise on one’s blood pressure. It can be used in clinical trials to track vital signs during treatment. BP and
          EKG can be used to look at cardiac effects of certain medications. It can also give us far greater insight into how blood pressure varies naturally during the day. It can be used to test with less hassle for orthostatic hypotension. There are many other examples for use and, in general, having more convenient ways to self measure physiologic processes is a good idea and well worth $400, even without all the other functions.

          1. My comment was addressed to KingMel becasue of his/her comment. High blood pressure is the body’s inability to regulate blood pressure within a range. This is caused by many factors including age, diet, being over weight and lack of exercise.

            The Problem today is many people still can’t afford health care or even a doctors visit to receive professional medial advise. A medical checkup and blood work is what lets you know what is wrong with you and remedies to treat it – not a $400 smart watch.

        2. BP monitoring is worth a lot more than just following your blood pressure. As a physician, I know quite a bit about blood pressure. It is not just about monitoring for hypertension. It can monitor changes in blood pressure due to changing position (orthostatic hypotension), taking certain medications, doing certain activities. It can be used along with other measurable vitals during clinical trials. It can help us figure out the dynamic ways blood pressure changes due to circumstances throughout the day. Any type of device that makes it easier to collect blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm disturbances, exercise intolerance, falling with loss of consciousness and contacting 911 in an emergency, is worth a lot more than $400, even without all of its other functions.

    2. Any measurement of blood pressure is a single data point & not something which could be cited as conclusive even by a doctor.

      Want to screw up your hiring/health insurance process when a doctor records your blood pressure? Just run into your doctor’s office and then sit down in one minute and have your blood pressure taken. Then try to explain why the blood pressure reading was wrong and you really ought to be able to get that job.

      Recent food, drink, physical activity, medications, the time between these things and more can temporarily alter what a resting diastolic and systolic blood pressure will be.

      What can be useful is that a person can do a measurement at a given resting point each day and see whether it changes and then later go and compare the watch reading with a home or doctor office blood pressure reading to get an idea of how close the Apple Watch would be, to in effect “calibrate” the user’s view of their Apple Watch reading.

    3. Our blood pressure changes in response to stress. Stress changes throughout the day and and can be likely to reach its most dangerous condition when we’re working and away from home.

      Having a good looking watch on your wrist all day, periodically checking your blood pressure, has great potential health benefits without interrupting your day and without any of the stigma of wearing an obvious medical device. Great for your health and great for your style.

      It would be a quite a bargain. If its checking multiple health conditions, (heart rate, AFIB, EKG, physical falls and many more) its even more of a bargain.

    4. @ bjr001
      Yea, but the Apple Wa . . . wait a minute. My blood pressure monitor is reminding me of my appointment coming up and telling me I need to leave in 5 minutes.

  2. I think the Apple Watch advancements are nothing short of amazing! However, I have a much bigger concern about wearing, on my skin, a Wifi and cellular device. I haven’t heard a lot about this, and nobody seems to discuss it. The link between certain cancers and cellular phones is bad enough, and these are NOT against your skin that is supposed to create more risk as it sits directly against a person.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.