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Finger-tip monitor watches for heart problems

October 15, 2010|from KY3 News |

Measuring blood pressure and cholesterol helps doctors know about our cardiovascular health.  Now a new device would let your fingers do the talking. 

Pete Stewart, 66, had a major health scare when a virus attacked the lining of his heart. 

"I was hospitalized for three or four days and had an elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, so and so forth," said Stewart.

Stewart is now considered high risk for cardiovascular problems. Doctors regularly check his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A new device called Vendys would take those checks a step further.  

"The problem we have today is, if we only measure blood pressure and cholesterol, we don't have enough guidance about your total vascular health," said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, an inventor and medical doctor.


Vendys is a blood pressure machine with an additional feature at the fingertip. When blood is cut off at the cuff for the blood pressure reading, a clip on the patient's finger uses blood temperature levels to measure how quickly blood returns to the hand. 

"If your temperature is coming back up quickly and goes about where it was, you have a good vascular reactivity or vascular function," said Naghavi.  

If the temperature doesn't bounce back quickly, it could mean plaque buildup in the arteries, which requires doctor supervision.  

"This shows you if you're going the right direction, whether your vascular function is improving or it's not changing as much, therefore your doctor needs to increase your dose of drugs that you are taking," said Naghavi.   

These days, Stweart is watching his diet and working out regularly.   

"At 66, I feel good and I just try to get another 10 or 15 years out of this, this old body," he aid.

The makers of the Vendys machine expect it to be on the market in a year and a half.
It should cost about the same as a regular blood pressure device, which is currently about $50.
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