Good news for people who have blood pressure (BP) problems, monitoring BP might one day become as easy as taking a video selfie.
The study released in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging showed that a tool in a smartphone could measure blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in facial videos, enabling a contactless and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring method.
“This study shows that facial video can contain some information about systolic blood pressure,” said researcher Ramakrishna Mukkamala, Professor at the Michigan State University.
Ambient light penetrates the skin’s outer layer allowing digital optical sensors in smartphones to visualize and extract blood flow patterns, which transdermal optical imaging models can use to predict blood pressure.
They compared the smartphone-captured systolic and diastolic pressure measurement to blood pressure readings with a traditional cuff-based device. They found that on average, the transdermal optical imaging predicted systolic blood pressure with nearly 95 percent accuracy and diastolic blood pressure at nearly 96 percent accuracy.
Researchers videoed faces in a well-controlled environment with fixed lighting, so it is unclear whether the technology can accurately measure blood pressure in less controlled environments, including homes.
Also, while the study participants had a variety of skin tones, the sample lacked subjects with either extremely dark or fair skin.