Nanshu Lu, PhD; Phillip Tan, BS | University of Texas at Austin
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Award year: 2021
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the largest cause of death in the world, leading to significant financial and emotional drain. However, current methods of assessing CVD are inadequate: it is impossible to assess the highly variable nature of the cardiovascular system in occasional clinical examinations. While office blood pressure can be useful for predicting CVD, critical metrics such the nocturnal blood pressure (BP) dip, beat-to-beat blood pressure variability, and arterial stiffness change are oft neglected due to the difficulty of acquiring these metrics. This proposal seeks to transform the world of preventative health care with two specific goals: first, to increase accessibility and uptake of cardiovascular monitoring in the general population; and secondly, to develop new methods to extract difficult-to-measure cardiovascular metrics. Here, I propose a nearly-imperceptible, continuously monitoring electronic tattoo (e-tattoo) capable of cuffless beat-to-beat BP, pulse wave velocity, SaO2, SvO2, heart rate analysis, respiratory rate, and cardiac output. The advent of wearable devices has demonstrated the power that health monitoring can have on medicine; however, the innate rigidity of these sensors limits them to the wrist. The proposed e-tattoo is an affordable, reusable, epidermal, sticker-like sensor. It will measure long-term cardiovascular metrics from the carotid artery, providing unparalleled insight to the central vasculature and the brain. By improving user comfort and decreasing costs, more people will benefit from wearable technologies. With enhanced cardiovascular data, physicians will have the insight to provide necessary preventative measures earlier and more effectively. Widespread, equitable, powerful health monitoring today will prevent health catastrophes tomorrow.