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Purdue researchers develop device to help women avoid pregnancy complications

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 9th, 2018

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a device and smartphone app to help pregnant women detect whether they are susceptible to a condition that could cause serious health complications for them or their unborn child.

The Purdue team has developed a low-cost early detection sensor for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure that can lead to organ damage and premature birth.  According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10% of all maternal deaths in Africa and Asia are related to hypertensive disorders like preeclampsia.

“Addressing the problem of prematurity and preeclampsia could have profound implications for women and children globally,” says David Reuter, a Purdue alumnus and member of the research team. “Our scientific insights provide an exciting road map to start revolutionizing the care of pregnant women.”

The device measures whether a woman’s blood pressure increases when she shifts from lying on her left side to lying on her back. If it increases enough, the device will give a warning that she is susceptible to preeclampsia. She will then be able to send the results to a doctor’s office, healthcare system or a centralized network for the results to be read and analyzed so she may start treatment options as early as possible.

“This is a device that women are going to be able to use at home with a minimal amount of training,” says Craig Goergen, assistant professor at Purdue and head of the research team. “It will be a great way to make sure that these patients are not going down a road that is going to lead to problem for both them and their baby.”

With help from the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, the researchers have secured a provisional patent on the device. They are now looking to partner with companies that would offer the technological expertise needed to ready the device for commercial production.

Source: EurekAlert!

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