Aktiia has won CE marking for its optical blood pressure measuring technology that does not require calibration from a traditional cuff, opening integration into commercial smartwatches and phones.

The Swiss company made waves in the blood pressure (BP) monitoring and management space three years ago, when it received a CE mark for its continuous BP monitoring device worn on the wrist. The bracelet uses photoplethysmography (PPG) to analyse the changing diameter of the arteries occurring at each heartbeat. However, a limitation of the device was that it needed monthly calibration via a cuff.

Now, the latest CE mark for Aktiia is for similar technology that does need calibration. Called Calfree, the company says the system uses optical sensors found in smartwatches or those housed in the cameras of smartphones.

The wearable tech market will be worth $290.6bn by 2030, according to analysis by GlobalData.

“This is a crucial first step towards integrating Aktiia’s Calfree technology into various third-party devices,” Aktiia said in a statement.

The technology will provide patients with hypertension a more convenient way to manage blood pressure. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of people with hypertension will reach 1.5 billion by 2025, up from 1.3 billion in 2019.

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Aktiia’s CEO Dr Jay Shah said: “By harnessing the power of our vast and rich dataset, predictive, precision blood pressure care can be delivered on the scale required for impactful blood pressure management.”

Leveraging traditional techniques rather than a light-based approach is Omron’s HeartGuide – a wristwatch that has a miniaturised inflatable cuff for blood pressure reading. Historically, cuffs have been the gold standard for accurately measuring blood pressure, but recent advancements in optical technology have meant that the gap has shrunk.

In the US, LiveMetric has a watch-like blood pressure measuring device that uses a sensor array to produce a pressure waveform from the radial artery that is then analysed by algorithms for numbers. LiveMetric’s device, called LiveOne, was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2022 and is also CE-marked in Europe.