Why smartwatch-measured blood pressure still isn’t ‘ready for primetime’

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Why smartwatch-measured blood pressure still isn’t ‘ready for primetime’

It’s been over two years since Samsung first announced that its Galaxy Watch would be able to measure people’s blood pressure. The feature is available in a number of countries, including South Korea, but not in the United States — the company is still awaiting Food and Drug Administration clearance. In the meantime, other smartwatch companies have started experimenting with blood pressure tech in a bid for monitors on their devices. Fitbit announced a study trialing a blood pressure monitor in April, and Apple is reportedly working on its own version, as well.

Adding a blood pressure monitor to smartwatches could arguably be more important for users’ cardiovascular health than the heart rate and rhythm monitors they have now, says says Ann Marie Navar, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “Blood pressure measurement is something we need to do a lot more a lot of,” she says.

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But it’s still not clear how reliable smartwatch-measured blood pressure could be. Measuring blood pressure is much harder than tracking heart rate and rhythm, and getting it right is arguably even more important. “We’re not ready for primetime yet,” says Jordana Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who studies hypertension.

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