Fingertip temperature could reveal cardiovascular disease risk

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Washington, May 6 (ANI): The temperature of your fingertip could reveal the risk of cardiovascular disease, say researchers at the University of Houston.

VENDYS, a device mechanical engineering professors Stanley Kleis and Ralph Metcalfe helped develop, is allowing doctors to monitor how changes in blood flow affect finger temperature to measure an individual's risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The researchers have described how a mathematical model is assisting them to better understand the real-life physics behind VENDYS.

"This is the first paper on this topic, really, in biomedical engineering literature. VENDYS is helping move us from a risk assessment to an actual non-invasive measurement focused on a specific individual. This model will be essential in helping us make VENDYS a more accurate, cost-effective early detection method," said Metcalfe.

Guided by the mathematical model, these researchers are examining how factors such as room temperature or a recent meal influence test results.

By understanding their impact, they hope to be able to determine the conditions necessary to get the most accurate final results.

VENDYS has been in use since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for commercial sale in 2007. Less invasive and more cost effective than many traditional methods for CVD screening, including blood tests, CAT scans and MRIs, the device consists of a blood pressure cuff and detector that are hooked up to a computer equipped with specialized software.

Not much larger than a quarter, the detector is placed on the fingertip, while a blood pressure cuff is wrapped around a patient's arm.

The cuff is inflated for a period of two to five minutes as blood flow to the hand decreases and the finger temperature drops due to the absence of warm circulating blood. Once the cuff is released, blood flow rushes into the forearm and hand.

A sensor in the detector, attached to the fingertip, records data on how fast and completely temperature in the finger rebounds. In all, the test takes no more than 15 minutes. Unlike most other methods, the results paint a picture of an individual's vascular health.

"The speed and magnitude of temperature recovery is a measure of vascular reactivity. The greater the rebound, the more reactive and healthy the artery. We helped quantify this with our models. A lower or weaker return of temperature signifies a problem that should prompt consultation with a cardiologist," Kleis said.

The research has been published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. (ANI)

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