Novel device accurately measures BP, pulse of pregnant women in low-resource setting
Designed to ensure suitability for healthcare providers with limited training, the CRADLE Vital Signs Alert (VSA) is a device that integrates an evidence-based traffic light early warning system, which may enhance care for women in pregnancy, childbirth and in the postnatal period, according to a study.
“CRADLE VSA [is] an accurate, low-cost and easy-to-use device measuring blood pressure (BP) and pulse with an integrated traffic light early warning system,” researchers said. “The [device is] designed to be used by all cadres of healthcare providers for pregnant women in low-resource settings with the aim to prevent avoidable maternal mortality and morbidity.”
In preliminary fieldwork, antenatal surveillance of BP in pregnant women had improved significantly with the introduction of BP devices to rural clinics. [BMJ Innovations 2018;4:192-198]
An iterative qualitative evaluation was utilized to develop the aesthetics of the integrated traffic light system of the novel device. These lights are triggered according to evidence-based vital sign thresholds in hypertension and haemodynamic compromise from haemorrhage or sepsis.
The VSA, including its primary semiautomated functions, had been shown to be a reliable device for auscultation and was suitable for self-monitoring among pregnant women.
More than 6,700 VSA devices have been clinically used so far (June 2018) in 12 countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, according to researchers.
The earlier version of the VSA device was used as part of the intervention package in the community-level intervention for pre-eclampsia cluster randomized controlled trial in Mozambique, India and Pakistan. The trial enrolled 75,532 pregnant women and completed recruitment in February 2017.
“In some cases, the VSA device was the first BP device available to a clinic, and in most cases the first accurate BP device for pregnancy in clinics and hospitals,” researchers said. “In addition to the benefit to women in [low- and middle-income countries], the device is also suited for use in pregnancy in high-income countries, for nonpregnant adults and for home monitoring.”
A recent Danish prospective observational study has confirmed the accuracy of the device when used for self-monitoring by pregnant women. Groups needing vital sign measurement away from clinical settings, such as the fire brigade, army and mountain rescue in the UK, has also adopted the device. [Blood Press Monit 2017;22:268-273]
“We anticipate that women who would have previously gone unnoticed would now be identified early as being at risk,” researchers said. “This simple technology may prevent maternal deaths and could contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to <70,000 per 100,000 live births by 2030.”
The PATH Innovation Countdown 2030 report recognized the potential contribution of the VSA device, getting nominated as one of “30 life-saving innovations with great promise to accelerate progress over the next 15 years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.” [PATH. Reimagining global health, innovation countdown 2030 report, 2015]