Valencell promises blood pressure monitoring in a finger clip

Valencell, best known around these parts for making optical heart rate sensors for fitness tech, has turned up to CES with something new. The company is showing off a new fingertip monitor that, it says, will offer “cuffless” blood pressure monitoring. Rather than inflating a sleeve around the top of your arm, you’ll be able to monitor your blood pressure with a fingertip clip. That’s currently commonly used to measure your heart rate both at home, and in medical settings.

The as-yet unnamed device is pending FDA clearance, but Valencell has explained that it uses PPG sensors to measure blood flow patterns. This information is then run through an algorithm which calculates the movement against both a dataset containing 7,000 patient records. That’s then run up against the user’s age, weight, gender and height to produce a blood pressure measurement. And you’ll get both Diastolic and Systolic results presented on the device’s built-in screen, and pushed to the companion mobile app.

Much as Valencell say its work is unique, we’ve seen at least one other system that uses PPG and algorithms in place of a cuff. At the start of 2022, the University of Missouri showed off its own finger clip that harnesses a pair of PPG sensors, one on either side of the finger. That system was, by its creators own admission, far less accurate for diastolic measures, given the need to control for a person’s age, gender and weight.

Valencell seems to suggest that it has solved those issues with more data, to the point where you won’t need to calibrate its monitor with an initial cuff reading. That’s either some staggering bravado, or a sign that we’re getting better at the nitty-gritty of healthcare monitoring. The company says that it could offer a new weapon in the war against hypertension, and it hopes to offer it for use in clinical settings for remote patient monitoring or chronic care management.

But that’ll all have to wait until the FDA has run its cautious eye over the hardware — which could take much of the year — but if it offers its blessing, Valencell says it’ll sell the product for $99.


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