NYP and TTSH Develop Pain-Free Way to Test Health of Blood Vessels
School of Engineering Published on 14 Jan 2019

Are your blood vessels in good health? This device can help detect if you are at risk of stroke or heart disease. Current methods are invasive and time consuming.

Hence, NYP’s School of Engineering (SEG) has collaborated with Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to develop a novel, non-invasive device to detect the risks of vascular diseases in diabetic patients.

The idea for this device to detect non-invasive blood flow came to Dr Phua Chee Teck, Deputy Director (Sustainability Engineering) from SEG when he saw how sensors and magnetic signals were used to determine the value of cash notes by currency-counting machines.  

By testing whether blood vessels can cope with reduced blood flow, the device is the first of its kind to allow for endothelial dysfunction (deficiencies in a person's blood vessel system) to be detected in a non-invasive way.

The procedure is simple and requires the device's two clamps to be attached to the patient's wrists for 20 minutes. The patient's resting pulse and blood flow are measured first before the blood flow is temporarily restricted from the patient's left arm and subsequently released. The machine will then measure the intensity at which the blood flows back into the left arm to assess if the patient's vessels are working at their optimum levels.

In addition, the device is a good way of predicting whether someone has diabetes. It can differentiate between patients with severe and early diabetes. Tests of diabetic patients tend to reveal unnatural readings, which suggest that the blood vessels are inelastic.

The effort is supported by the National Health Innovation Centre and the National Healthcare Group's Centre for Medical Technologies and Innovations. The researchers are now looking to make the device easier for any healthcare professional to use. They will also examine how it can be made cost-effective for widespread use.