|If a person's blood flows through their arteries at too high a pressure, even
when they are lying still on the sofa, they could be in danger. High blood pressure
causes the heart to constantly pump at full speed, which strains both the heart
and vessel walls. Drugs can provide relief, but in many cases the patient's
blood pressure is still difficult to regulate and has to be consistently monitored
over a long period of time.
The Hyper IMS system is a prosthetic implant designed to track and monitor a
person's blood pressure in real time. Designed to reduce the need for continual
doctor visits, unnecessary drugs and stress, the prosthetic organ is implanted
directly into the femoral artery in the groin. There, it monitors blood pressure
thirty times a minute.
The prosthetic is incredibly tiny: The bit that is inserted into the artery,
is just one millimetre wide. This includes the power module. In the image above,
it is laying across an adult human index finger. A micro-cable, just a tenth
as wide as the unit, leads out of the artery to the rest of the prosthetic:
a simple passive RFID transponder, unpowered, which sits under the skin, also
in the groin.
An external reader, no larger than a mobile phone, sits in the patient's pocket,
and checks in with the implant on a regular basis, 'pinging' the RFID transponder
twenty to thirty times per minute. These radio frequency connections supply
the transponder with power, and through it, the sensor. The transponder transmits
the readings back, until it runs out of power or the next RF 'ping' occurs.
The external reader that is the size of a mobile phone, is also a mobile phone,
albeit a specialised one. It can dial one number and one number only. Once a
day, or immediately if the readings spike, it contacts a centralised monitoring
station, which then forwards the data directly to the patient's doctor.
Still under development, the system is being developed by Fraunhofer researchers
together with the company Dr. Osypka GmbH and other partners in a BMBF-funded
project called "Hyper-IMS" (Intravascular Monitoring System for Hypertension