Med Device Monday: Blümio

This month I'm featuring products that have not yet been FDA approved. I've written before about why I do what I do and why it's important to me to get innovative devices like these to market. Products like this are integral to my work, but moreover, they are interesting, innovative, and fill a need. Join me this month in exploring some exciting new devices that I hope to see on the market soon. Feel free to share more innovative devices in the comments!

***

If you're reading this, you are likely fortunate enough to have visited a doctor at some point in your life. This means you are also likely familiar with blood pressure cuffs and their unique pinch-y squeeze. Blümio is a device that aims to do one better than traditional blood pressure cuffs and monitor blood pressure consistently—without the squeeze.

Blümio is not available yet, but it is intended to be worn as a band on the upper arm, as that is the place believed to provide the most accurate blood pressure measurement. However, there would be none of the inflation of a traditional BP cuff. Rather, it would be a simple monitor inside an armband. Measuring blood pressure with a cuff (officially known as a sphygmomanometer—say that three times fast) is a great way to take a snapshot of a patient's blood pressure, but Blümio allows for constant ambulatory monitoring. Patients go about their daily lives while their BP is being taken and recorded (paired with an app you can look at on your phone, even), thus providing their doctors with a fuller picture of their health.

 Blümio's Facebook cover photo.

Blümio's Facebook cover photo.

According to FierceBiotech, "Continuous blood pressure monitoring promises to reveal all sorts of undiagnosed and overlooked medical conditions. In fact, a study published by the American Heart Association earlier this week [May 2016] found that ambulatory monitoring over 24 hours in African Americans with masked or undetected high blood pressure can help detect undiagnosed hypertension...Blumio [sic] sees its potential target population as patients who have had a serious cardiac event, pregnant women at risk for hypertension and people who are occasionally hypertensive." 

So how does it work? An article in the MIT Technology Review says Blümio is "building blood-pressure measuring technology that uses radar—typically employed for things like tracking ships or speeding cars by monitoring the phase changes in electromagnetic waves as they reflect off of them—to make it easier and faster to measure blood pressure without needing to squeeze your arm." The article also goes on to explain the the company is still perfecting its technology and doesn't expect the product to be released until sometime in the "summer or fall of 2017". 

FierceBiotech mentions that Blümio is in the midst of a study that "is expected to give the company the data it needs to submit for a 510(k) clearance form the FDA." 

TechCrunch also had a bit about the device back in May.