(19)
(11)EP 2 736 418 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
05.12.2018 Bulletin 2018/49

(21)Application number: 12770221.5

(22)Date of filing:  17.07.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61B 8/06  (2006.01)
A61B 5/022  (2006.01)
A61B 8/04  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2012/053640
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/014575 (31.01.2013 Gazette  2013/05)

(54)

METHOD AND DEVICE FOR DETECTING OCCLUSION/REOPENING OF AN ARTERY AND SYSTEM FOR MEASURING SYSTOLIC BLOOD PRESSURE

VERFAHREN UND VORRICHTUNG ZUR ERKENNUNG DER VERSTOPFUNG/WIEDERÖFFNUNG EINER ARTERIE UND SYSTEM ZUR MESSUNG DES SYSTOLISCHEN BLUTDRUCKS

PROCÉDÉ ET DISPOSITIF DE DÉTECTION D'UNE OCCLUSION/RÉOUVERTURE D'UNE ARTÈRE ET SYSTÈME POUR MESURER UNE PRESSION SANGUINE SYSTOLIQUE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 28.07.2011 WO PCT/CN2011/077752

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.06.2014 Bulletin 2014/23

(73)Proprietor: Koninklijke Philips N.V.
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)

(72)Inventors:
  • CHEN, Yinan
    NL-5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • LU, Weijia
    NL-5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • ZHONG, Jianyi
    NL-5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • ANAND, Ajay
    NL-5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • PETRUZZELLO, John
    NL-5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)

(74)Representative: Steffen, Thomas 
Philips Intellectual Property & Standards High Tech Campus 5
5656 AE Eindhoven
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2010/061197
US-A- 5 072 736
US-A- 4 205 688
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The invention relates to non-invasive blood pressure measurement, in particular to a method and a device for detecting occlusion/reopening of an artery and a system for measuring systolic blood pressure (SBP).

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Unlike invasive blood pressure measurement, non-invasive blood pressure measurement is an indirect method of measuring the blood pressure in an artery of the human body. Currently, there are two categories of non-invasive blood pressure measurement methods.

    [0003] One method is the auscultatory method (from the Latin word for "listening"), which is the predominant method of clinical measurement due to its accuracy. According to the auscultatory method, an inflatable cuff of a sphygmomanometer is used to apply a changing pressure on an artery to restrict blood flow in the artery. The cuff is first inflated until the artery is completely occluded and then deflated until the artery is open again. The pressure values at the moment of occlusion and at the moment of reopening are commonly called SBP-I (SBP during inflation) and SBP-D (SBP during deflation), respectively. Clinicians manually detect the moment of occlusion and the moment of reopening of the artery by listening with a stethoscope or a Doppler probe and read the SBP values from the sphygmomanometer. The clinicians should have no hearing deficit and are required to highly focus on the devices during the whole measuring procedure. Consequently, when using the auscultatory method to measure SBP, the clinicians might easily start to feel tired, as a result of which the accuracy of the detected moments of occlusion and reopening of the artery is impacted accordingly.

    [0004] The other method is the oscillometric method. Existing automatic blood pressure measuring devices are all based on the oscillometric method. Clinicians enjoy the convenience brought by the oscillometric method. However, in comparison with the auscultatory method, the oscillometric method is relatively inaccurate, because the measurements are calculated based on statistics without respect to individuals.

    [0005] Thus, existing blood pressure measurement methods are either inconvenient to use or inaccurate.

    [0006] US5,072,736 discloses a non-invasive automatic blood pressure measuring apparatus.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0007] Based on the understanding of the technical problems and prior art described above, it would be desirable to automatically detect the moment of occlusion and/or reopening of an artery without any intervention from clinicians. It would also be desirable to automatically measure SBP while still achieving good measurement accuracy.

    [0008] To better address one or more of the above concerns, according to an embodiment of an aspect of the present invention, a method of detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery of the body caused by a changing pressure applied on the artery according to claim 1 is provided. The method comprises the steps of:
    • obtaining, using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer attached to the exterior of the body, a blood flow signal indicative of a change of the blood flow in the artery caused by the changing pressure;
    • deriving, from the blood flow signal, at least one of a first variable indicative of the magnitude of the blood flow and a second variable indicative of the periodicity of the blood flow;
    • detecting the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery on the basis of the at least one variable, the reopening of the artery being detected on the basis of at least the second variable being within a second range.


    [0009] The basic idea is to detect the occlusion/reopening of an artery on the basis of at least one of a first variable indicative of the magnitude of the blood flow in the artery and a second variable indicative of the periodicity of the blood flow in the artery. In other words, the occlusion/reopening of the artery is automatically detected on the basis of the change of the amplitude and/or the periodicity of the blood flow in the artery. Furthermore, the variables are derived from a blood flow signal, and the blood flow signal refers to any signal indicative of a change of the blood flow in the artery and is obtained using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer.

    [0010] In this way, the occlusion/reopening of the artery can be detected automatically. Since the need to manually detect the occlusion and reopening of the artery by listening with a stethoscope or a Doppler probe is eliminated, the detecting result is more predictable and repeatable, and therefore also more accurate. Furthermore, since the detecting procedure is automated, the occlusion and reopening of the artery can be detected more conveniently.

    [0011] In an embodiment, the occlusion is detected when the first variable is less than a first threshold and/or the second variable is outside a first range; and the reopening is detected when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and/or the second variable is within the second range.

    [0012] When the first variable is less than the first threshold and thus indicates that the magnitude of the blood flow is sufficiently low, the blood flow in the artery can be determined to have disappeared and the artery can, accordingly, be determined as being occluded. When the second variable is out of the first range and thus indicates that the periodicity of the blood flow is out of the first range, the blood flow in the artery can be determined as having disappeared and the artery can be determined as being occluded. This can be ascribed to the fact that, when the blood flow is not occluded, the periodicity of the blood flow is in synchronism with the heart rate and is generally within a certain range. Thus, the occlusion is detected when the first variable is less than the first threshold and/or the second variable is out of the first range. Similarly, the reopening of the artery is detected when the first variable is greater than the second threshold and/or the second variable is within the second range.

    [0013] In another embodiment, the reopening of the artery is detected when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and/or the second variable is within a second range for a predefined time period.

    [0014] When, for the predefined time period, the first variable indicates that the amplitude of the blood flow remains greater than the second threshold and/or the second variable indicates the periodicity of the blood flow remains within the second range, this means that the blood flow not only re-appears but also that it is becoming stable and, thus, that the artery is completely reopened. In this way, the reopening of the artery can be detected more reliably and more accurately. For example, when the artery starts to reopen, the blood flow could re-appear for a while and then disappear again, which is called Gap phenomenon, and only when the artery is completely reopened, the re-appearance of the blood flow becomes stable. According to this embodiment, since the reopening of the artery is detected when the blood flow becomes stable, the possibility of false detection caused by the Gap phenomenon can be reduced.

    [0015] In another embodiment, the method further comprises the step of determining at least one of the first threshold, the first range, the second threshold and the second range from the blood flow signal.

    [0016] Both the magnitude and the periodicity of the blood flow vary for different individuals. For example, the magnitude of the blood flow for an adult is generally higher than for a child, and the periodicity of the blood flow corresponding to the heart rate is relatively low for an athlete. Thus, instead of predefining a uniform threshold or range for all individuals, the first threshold, the first range, the second threshold and the second range can be determined for each individual from the blood flow signal of the individual, such that the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery can be detected more reliably and more accurately.

    [0017] In another embodiment, in the deriving step, at least one of a value of the first variable and a value of the second variable for a time window is calculated from the blood flow signal in the time window; and in the detecting step, the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery in the time window is detected on the basis of the at least one value for the time window.

    [0018] As the changing pressure changes over time, at least one of a value of the first variable and a value of the second variable for a current time window is calculated from the blood flow signal in the current time window so as to indicate the current magnitude and/or the current periodicity of the blood flow. When the at least one value indicates that the artery is occluded and/or reopened, it can be determined that the artery is occluded and/or reopened in the current time window.

    [0019] In another embodiment, the method further comprises the step of determining a maximum value of the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery.

    [0020] In this way, the maximum value of the changing pressure can be automatically determined. Moreover, since the maximum value of the changing pressure is not constant, but is adjusted to the actual condition of the artery, it is ensured that the pressure is sufficient for the occurrence of the occlusion, while any damage to the artery due to an excessively high pressure is prevented.

    [0021] According to an embodiment of another aspect of the present invention, a device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery of the body caused by a changing pressure applied on the artery according to claim 7 is provided. The device comprises:
    • an obtaining unit for obtaining a blood flow signal indicative of a change of a blood flow in the artery caused by the changing pressure using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer attached to the exterior of the body;
    • a deriving unit for deriving, from the blood flow signal, at least one of a first variable indicative of the magnitude of the blood flow and a second variable indicative of the periodicity of the blood flow;
    • a detecting unit for detecting the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery on the basis of the at least one variable, the detecting unit being configured to detect the reopening when the second variable is within a second range.


    [0022] According to an embodiment of yet another aspect of the present invention, a system for measuring the systolic blood pressure of an artery of the body is provided. The system comprises:
    • an inflatable cuff attachable to the exterior of the body for applying a changing pressure on the artery;
    • a pressure sensor for obtaining a plurality of pressure values of the changing pressure at a plurality of time points;
    • a detecting device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of the artery of the body caused by the changing pressure applied on the artery as described in the above;
    • a determining device for determining the systolic blood pressure from at least one of a first pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected occlusion of the artery, and a second pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected reopening of the artery.


    [0023] By means of such a system, the systolic blood pressure of an artery can be measured automatically. Since the need to manually detect the occlusion and reopening of the artery by listening with a stethoscope or a Doppler probe is eliminated and the need to manually read the pressure value at the time when occlusion and/or reopening of the artery occurs is also eliminated, the measuring result is more predictable and repeatable, and therefore also more accurate. Furthermore, since the measuring procedure is automated, the systolic blood pressure can be measured more conveniently.

    [0024] Further, the first pressure value and the second pressure value correspond to the SBP-I and the SBP-D, respectively, and the systolic blood pressure is determined from either SBP-I or SBP-D or both.

    [0025] In another embodiment, the detecting device is configured to determine a time point for decreasing the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery; and the inflatable cuff is configured to start deflating at the determined time point.

    [0026] In this way, the inflatable cuff is controlled automatically and accurately.

    [0027] These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

    [0028] The invention is defined by the appended claims.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0029] The above and other objects and features of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Fig.1 depicts a schematic diagram of a system for measuring the systolic blood pressure of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

    Fig.2 depicts a diagram of a changing pressure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

    Fig.3 depicts a schematic diagram of a device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

    Fig.4 depicts a flow chart of a method of detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.



    [0030] The same reference numerals are used to denote similar parts throughout the figures.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0031] A detailed description of the present invention is given below in connection with the accompanying drawings.

    [0032] Fig.1 depicts a schematic diagram of a system for measuring the systolic blood pressure of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

    [0033] Referring to Fig.1, the system 100 comprises an inflatable cuff 101, a pressure sensor 102, a detecting device 103 and a determining device 104.

    [0034] The inflatable cuff 101 is intended to be attached to the exterior of the body 1 to apply a changing pressure on an artery of the body 1. For example, the inflatable cuff 101 can be wrapped around the upper limb of the body to apply the changing pressure on the brachial artery. For another example, the inflatable cuff 101 can be wrapped around the lower limb of the body to apply the changing pressure on the posterior tibial artery and/or dorsalis pedis artery.

    [0035] The pressure sensor 102 is configured to obtain values of the changing pressure applied by the inflatable cuff. In particular, the pressure sensor 102 obtains a plurality of pressure values of the changing pressure at a plurality of time points.

    [0036] The detecting device 103 is configured to detect occlusion and/or reopening of an artery of the body caused by the changing pressure applied on the artery. As is well-known, the artery is occluded when the applied pressure is sufficiently high, and the artery is reopened when the applied pressure decreases below a certain value. Accordingly, during the increase of the changing pressure, the detecting device 103 detects when occlusion of the artery occurs; and during the decrease of the changing pressure, the detecting device 103 detects when the artery is reopened.

    [0037] The determining device 104 is configured to determine the systolic blood pressure from at least one of a first pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected occlusion of the artery, and a second pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected reopening of the artery. As is well-known, the systolic blood pressure (SBP) comprises SBP-I and SBP-D, wherein SBP-I is the pressure applied by the cuff 102 at a time when the artery is occluded during the inflation of the cuff 102, and SBP-D is the pressure applied by the cuff 102 when the artery is reopened during the deflation of the cuff 102. Thus, the first pressure value and the second pressure value are the SBP-I value and the SBP-D value, respectively.

    [0038] When only one of the first and the second pressure values is available, the available one is determined to be the systolic blood pressure. When both the first and the second pressure values are available, the determining device 104 can determine the systolic blood pressure in different ways. For example, the systolic blood pressure can be determined as one of the first pressure value and the second pressure value. For another example, the systolic blood pressure can be determined to be the higher one of the first pressure value and the second pressure value.

    [0039] The determining device 104 can obtain at least one of the first and the second pressure values in different ways. In an embodiment, the pressure sensor 102 provides a plurality of pressure values at the plurality of time points to the detecting device 103, and then the detecting device 103 provides at least one of the first and the second pressure values corresponding respectively to the detected occlusion and reopening of the artery to the determining device 104. In another embodiment, the pressure sensor 102 provides a plurality of pressure values at the plurality of time points to the determining device 104, the detecting device 103 provides at least one of two time points corresponding to the detected occlusion and reopening of the artery to the determining device 104, and then the determining device 104 selects at least one of the first and the second pressure values among the plurality of pressure values from the pressure sensor 102 according to at least one of two time points from the detecting device 103.

    [0040] Fig.2 depicts a diagram of a changing pressure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Fig.2 illustrates a change of the changing pressure versus time.

    [0041] Referring to Fig.2, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the changing pressure increases gradually to a maximum pressure value that is sufficiently high for the artery to be occluded, and then starts to decrease to enable the artery to reopen. The pressure values corresponding respectively to the occlusion and the reopening of the artery are denoted as SBP-I and SBP-D.

    [0042] The maximum pressure value can be set in different ways.

    [0043] In an embodiment, the maximum pressure value can be predefined. Alternatively, different maximum pressure values can be individually set for different persons. For example, the maximum pressure value is set to be relatively high for a patient with hypertension.

    [0044] In another embodiment, when the occlusion of the artery is detected in real-time, the maximum pressure value can be adaptively defined according to the detected occlusion. For example, the maximum pressure value is set to be in a range of 20 mmHg to 30 mmHg above the SBP-I value. As shown in the Fig.2, as the changing pressure increases, the occlusion is detected to occur at about second 13 and the corresponding SBP-I is 190 mmHg. Accordingly, the maximum pressure value is set to, for example, 220 mmHg, and the changing pressure starts to decrease when it reaches the maximum pressure at about second 15. Referring to Fig.1, the detecting device 103 provides a real-time feedback to the inflatable cuff 101 such that the inflatable cuff 101 can start to decrease the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery.

    [0045] Fig.3 depicts a schematic diagram of a device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Fig.4 depicts a flow chart of a method of detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

    [0046] Referring to Fig.3, the device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery, such as the detecting device 103 of Fig.1, comprises an obtaining unit 301, a deriving unit 302 and a detecting unit 303.

    [0047] Referring to Fig.3 and Fig.4, the method comprises a step S410, in which the obtaining unit 301 obtains a blood flow signal using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer. The blood flow signal indicates a change of a blood flow in the artery.

    [0048] As is well-known, the Doppler ultrasound transducer can be used to assess direction and velocity of blood flow. The Doppler Ultrasound transducer is attached to the exterior of the body. In particular, the Doppler Ultrasound transducer is attached above the artery. The Doppler ultrasound transducer generates high frequency sound waves and receives echoes from the blood flow in the artery. The echoes are evaluated to determine the direction and the velocity of the blood flow by employing Doppler effect. The Doppler Ultrasound transducer can be a continuous wave Doppler Ultrasound transducer or a pulsed wave Doppler ultrasound transducer.

    [0049] The blood flow signal can be any kind of signal indicative of the change of the blood flow in the artery. In an embodiment, the blood flow signal refers to the so-called raw acoustic signal obtained using the Doppler Ultrasound transducer. The so-called raw acoustic signal represents the Doppler effect of the echoes, wherein each frequency component is associated with a particular Doppler shift and the amplitude of each frequency component is associated with the amount of blood moving at a velocity corresponding to the particular Doppler shift.

    [0050] Referring to Fig.3 and Fig.4, the method further comprises a step S420, in which the deriving unit 302 derives, from the blood flow signal, at least one of a first variable and a second variable. The first variable indicates the magnitude of the blood flow, and the second variable indicates the periodicity of the blood flow.

    [0051] According to an embodiment, a predefined time window slides along the time axis, and a value of each of the first and the second variables is calculated for each time window. For example, the time window can be defined as having a width of 3 seconds and sliding for 1 second each time; accordingly, the value of each of the first and the second variables is calculated every second.

    [0052] The values of the first and the second variables for a given time window can be calculated in different ways. An approach based on time-frequency analysis is described below.

    [0053] First, a spectrogram of the so-called raw acoustic signal in the given time window is calculated. A spectrogram is a time-varying spectral representation that shows how the spectral density of a signal varies with time, also known as sonagram. Generally, the spectrogram is a graph with a time axis, a frequency axis and a third axis indicating the amplitude at a particular frequency and a particular time. In an embodiment, short-term Fourier transform (STFT) is performed on the raw acoustic signal, and the magnitude squared of the STFT yields the spectrogram. Alternatively, the spectrogram can be also calculated using other known methods such as wavelet transform.

    [0054] Next, the spectrogram is filtered to remove spectrum components in predefined frequency ranges. For example, the predefined frequency ranges comprises 0-100 Hz and above 3000 Hz.

    [0055] Next, the amplitude of the filtered spectrogram is accumulated along the frequency axis to obtain a waveform as a function of time, referred to as blood flow waveform hereinafter. Alternatively, the blood flow waveform can be extracted from the filtered spectrogram by extracting the maximum amplitude value along the frequency axis, namely the value of the blood flow waveform is the maximum amplitude value of the filtered spectrogram among all frequencies.

    [0056] Next, the values of the first and the second variable for the given time window are derived from the obtained blood flow waveform. The value of the first variable is associated with the peak amplitude of the blood flow waveform, and for example, it can be the maximum value or the average value of the peak values in the blood flow waveform. The value of the second variable is associated with the periodicity of the blood flow waveform, and, for example, can be the number of peaks per second. Various methods are known to determine the peak values and the number of peaks and will not be further discussed herein.

    [0057] Consequently, the values of the first and the second variables for a given time window are calculated from the blood flow signal in the given time window.

    [0058] Referring to Fig.3 and Fig.4, the method further comprises a step S430, in which the detecting unit 303 detects the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery on the basis of the at least one variable of the first variable and the second variable.

    [0059] In an embodiment, for a given time window, the artery is detected as being occluded in the given time window when the calculated value of the first variable for the given time window is less than the first threshold and/or the calculated value of the second variable for the given time window is out of the first range.

    [0060] The first threshold and the first range can be determined in different ways. Each of the first threshold and the first range can be constant and predetermined according to statistical data. Alternatively, each of the first threshold and the first range can be determined from the blood flow signal and can therefore vary. For example, the first threshold can be related to noise in the blood flow signal, and the noise can be calculated from the filtered spectrogram. Alternatively, the first threshold can be related to the average peak value in the blood flow waveform, and for example, be set to 10% to 20% of the average peak value. For example, the first range can be determined according to the mean and the standard deviation of the second variable in the previous time windows. Denoting the mean and the standard deviation by µ and σ, the first range can, for example, be determined as a range [µ-σ, µ+σ].

    [0061] Further, for a given time window, the artery is detected as being reopened in the given time window when the calculated value of the first variable for the given time window is greater than a second threshold and/or the calculated value of the second variable for the given time window is outside a second range. The second threshold and the second range can be identical to, respectively, the first threshold and the first range. When the first threshold and the first range are not constant but updated in each time window till the occlusion of the artery, the second threshold and the second range can be set to the latest values of the first threshold and the first range, respectively.

    [0062] Additionally, when the artery is detected as being reopened in the given time window, the reopening can be further determined as occurring at a time corresponding to the first peak that is greater than the second threshold.

    [0063] In another embodiment, when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and/or the second variable is within a second range for a predefined time period, the reopening is detected. Preferably, the predefined time period is sufficiently long to contain at least five cycles of the blood flow.

    [0064] In particular, when the calculated value of the first variable for the current time window is greater than the second threshold and/or the calculated value of the second variable for the current time window is within the second range, the current time window is marked. Then, in a predefined number of subsequent time windows, it is determined whether, for each of the subsequent time windows, the calculated value of the first variable is greater than the second threshold and/or the calculated value of the second variable for the current time window is within the second range. If yes, this indicates that the blood flow is stable, and the artery is determined as being actually reopened in the marked time window. In this way, the possibility of false detection due to the so-called Gap phenomenon can be reduced, and the detected reopening of the artery is therefore more reliable.

    [0065] As already mentioned in the above, the maximum pressure value of the changing pressure can be adaptively defined according to the detected occlusion of the artery. To do so, it is necessary to detect the occlusion of the artery in real-time. Accordingly, steps S410 to S430 are performed sequentially for each time window. That is to say, once the obtaining unit 310 obtains the blood flow signal in the current time window in step S410, steps S420 and S430 are performed to detect whether the artery is occluded or reopened in the current time window.

    [0066] It should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention and that those skilled in the art will be able to design alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the appended claims. The embodiments are illustrative rather than restrictive. It is intended that the invention include all modifications and variations to the illustrated and described embodiments within the scope and spirit of the invention. In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. The word "comprising" does not exclude the presence of elements or steps not listed in a claim or in the description. The word "a" or "an" preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. In the device claims enumerating several units, several of these units can be embodied by one and the same item of hardware or software. The usage of the words first, second and third, et cetera, does not indicate any ordering. These words are to be interpreted as names.


    Claims

    1. A method of detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery of a body caused by a changing pressure applied on the artery, the method comprising the steps of:

    obtaining (S410) a blood flow signal indicative of a change of a blood flow in the artery caused by the changing pressure using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer attached to the exterior of the body;

    deriving (S420), from the blood flow signal, at least one of a first variable indicative of the magnitude of the blood flow and a second variable indicative of the periodicity of the blood flow; and

    detecting (S430) the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery on the basis of the at least one variable, the reopening of the artery being detected on the basis of at least the second variable being within a second range.


     
    2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein, in the detecting step:

    the occlusion is detected when the first variable is less than a first threshold and the second variable is outside a first range; and

    the reopening is detected when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and the second variable is within the second range.


     
    3. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein, in the detecting step:
    the reopening is detected when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and the second variable is within the second range for a predefined time period.
     
    4. A method as claimed in claim 2, further comprising the step of:
    determining at least one of the first threshold, the first range, the second threshold and the second range from the blood flow signal.
     
    5. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein:

    in the deriving step (S420), at least one of a value of the first variable and a value of the second variable for a time window is calculated from the blood flow signal in the time window; and

    in the detecting step (S430), the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery in the time window is detected on the basis of the at least one value for the time window.


     
    6. A method as claimed in claim 1, further comprising the step of determining a maximum value of the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery.
     
    7. A device for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of an artery of the body caused by a changing pressure applied on the artery, comprising:

    an obtaining unit (301) for obtaining a blood flow signal indicative of a change of the blood flow in the artery caused by the changing pressure using a Doppler Ultrasound transducer attached to the exterior of the body;

    a deriving unit (302) for deriving, from the blood flow signal, at least one of a first variable indicative of the magnitude of the blood flow and a second variable indicative of the periodicity of the blood flow; and

    a detecting unit (303) for detecting the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery on the basis of the at least one variable, the detecting unit (303) being configured to detect the reopening when the second variable is within a second range.


     
    8. A device as claimed in claim 7, wherein:

    the detecting unit (303) is configured to detect the occlusion when the first variable is less than a first threshold and the second variable is outside a first range; and

    the detecting unit (303) is configured to detect the reopening when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and the second variable is within the second range.


     
    9. A device as claimed in claim 7, wherein:
    the detecting unit (303) is configured to detect the reopening when the first variable is greater than a second threshold and the second variable is within the second range for a predefined time period.
     
    10. A device as claimed in claim 8, further comprising:
    a first determining unit for determining at least one of the first threshold, the first range, the second threshold and the second range from the blood flow signal.
     
    11. A device as claimed in claim 7, wherein:

    the deriving unit (302) is configured to calculate at least one of a value of the first variable and a value of the second variable for a time window from the blood flow signal in the time window; and

    the detecting unit (303) is configured to detect the occlusion and/or reopening of the artery in the time window on the basis of the at least one value for the time window.


     
    12. A device as claimed in claim 7, further comprising:
    a second determining unit for determining a maximum value of the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery.
     
    13. A system for measuring the systolic blood pressure of an artery of a body, comprising:

    an inflatable cuff (101) attachable to the exterior of the body for applying a changing pressure on the artery;

    a pressure sensor (102) for obtaining a plurality of pressure values of the changing pressure at a plurality of time points;

    a detecting device (103) for detecting occlusion and/or reopening of the artery of the body caused by the changing pressure applied on the artery according to any one of claims 7 to 12; and

    a determining device (104) for determining the systolic blood pressure from at least one of a first pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected occlusion of the artery, and a second pressure value of the changing pressure at a time point corresponding to the detected reopening of the artery.


     
    14. A system as claimed in claim 13, wherein:

    the detecting device (103) is configured to determine a maximum value of the changing pressure according to the detected occlusion of the artery;

    the inflatable cuff (101) is configured to start deflating when the changing pressure reaches the determined maximum value.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Detektieren von Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung einer Körperarterie verursacht durch einen sich ändernden Druck, der auf die Arterie ausgeübt wird, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    Erlangen (S410) eines Blutströmungssignals, das eine Änderung eines Blutflusses in der Arterie verursacht durch den sich ändernden Druck angibt, unter Verwendung eines Doppler-Ultraschallwandlers, der an dem Äußeren des Körpers angebracht ist;

    Ableiten (S420), von dem Blutströmungssignal, mindestens einer ersten Variablen, die die Größe der Blutströmung angibt, und einer zweiten Variablen, die die Periodizität der Blutströmung angibt; und

    Detektieren (S430) der Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung der Arterie basierend auf der mindestens einen Variablen, wobei die Wiederöffnung der Arterie basierend darauf detektiert wird, dass mindestens die zweite Variable in einem zweiten Bereich liegt.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei in dem Schritt des Detektierens:

    die Verstopfung detektiert wird, wenn die erste Variable kleiner als ein erster Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable außerhalb eines ersten Bereichs liegt; und

    die Wiederöffnung detektiert wird, wenn die erste Variable größer als ein zweiter Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable innerhalb des zweiten Bereichs liegt.


     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei in dem Schritt des Detektierens:
    die Wiederöffnung detektiert wird, wenn die erste Variable größer als ein zweiter Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable für eine vorgegebene Zeitdauer innerhalb des zweiten Bereichs liegt.
     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 2, ferner umfassend den folgenden Schritt:
    Ermitteln von mindestens einem von dem ersten Schwellenwert, dem ersten Bereich, dem zweiten Schwellenwert und dem zweiten Bereich anhand des Blutströmungssignals.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei
    in dem Schritt des Ableitens (S420) mindestens einer von einem Wert der ersten Variablen und einem Wert der zweiten Variablen für ein Zeitfenster anhand des Blutströmungssignals in dem Zeitfenster berechnet wird; und
    in dem Schritt des Detektierens (S430) die Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung der Arterie in dem Zeitfenster basierend auf dem mindestens einen Wert für das Zeitfenster detektiert wird.
     
    6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend den Schritt des Ermittelns eines Maximalwerts des sich ändernden Drucks, der der detektierten Verstopfung der Arterie entspricht.
     
    7. Vorrichtung zum Detektieren von Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung einer Körperarterie verursacht durch einen sich ändernden Druck, der auf die Arterie ausgeübt wird, umfassend:

    eine Erlangungseinheit (301) zum Erlangen eines Blutströmungssignals, das eine Änderung eines Blutflusses in der Arterie verursacht durch den sich ändernden Druck angibt, unter Verwendung eines Doppler-Ultraschallwandlers, der an dem Äußeren des Körpers angebracht ist;

    eine Ableitungseinheit (302) zum Ableiten, von dem Blutströmungssignal, mindestens einer ersten Variablen, die die Größe der Blutströmung angibt, und einer zweiten Variablen, die die Periodizität der Blutströmung angibt; und

    eine Detektionseinheit (303) zum Detektieren der Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung der Arterie basierend auf der mindestens einen Variablen, wobei die Detektionseinheit (303) konfiguriert ist, um die Wiederöffnung der Arterie zu detektieren, wenn die zweite Variable in einem zweiten Bereich liegt.


     
    8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, wobei:

    die Detektionseinheit (303) konfiguriert ist, um die Verstopfung zu detektieren, wenn die erste Variable kleiner als ein erster Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable außerhalb eines ersten Bereichs liegt; und

    die Detektionseinheit (303) konfiguriert ist, um die Wiederöffnung zu detektieren, wenn die erste Variable größer als ein zweiter Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable innerhalb des zweiten Bereichs liegt.


     
    9. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, wobei:
    die Detektionseinheit (303) konfiguriert ist, um die Wiederöffnung zu detektieren, wenn die erste Variable größer als ein zweiter Schwellenwert ist und die zweite Variable für eine vorgegebene Zeitdauer innerhalb des zweiten Bereichs liegt.
     
    10. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 8, ferner umfassend:
    eine erste Ermittlungseinheit zum Ermitteln von mindestens einem von dem ersten Schwellenwert, dem ersten Bereich, dem zweiten Schwellenwert und dem zweiten Bereich anhand des Blutströmungssignals.
     
    11. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, wobei
    die Ableitungseinheit (302) konfiguriert ist, um mindestens einen von einem Wert der ersten Variablen und einem Wert der zweiten Variablen für ein Zeitfenster anhand des Blutströmungssignals in dem Zeitfenster zu berechnen; und
    die Detektionseinheit (303) konfiguriert ist, um die Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung der Arterie in dem Zeitfenster basierend auf dem mindestens einen Wert für das Zeitfenster zu detektieren.
     
    12. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, ferner umfassend:
    eine zweite Ermittlungseinheit zum Ermitteln eines Maximalwerts des sich ändernden Drucks, der der detektierten Verstopfung der Arterie entspricht.
     
    13. System zum Messen des systolischen Blutdrucks einer Körperarterie, umfassend:

    eine aufblasbare Manschette (101), die an dem Äußeren des Körpers angebracht werden kann, um einen sich ändernden Druck auf die Arterie auszuüben;

    einen Drucksensor (102) zum Erlangen einer Vielzahl von Druckwerten des sich ändernden Drucks zu einer Vielzahl von Zeitpunkten;

    eine Detektionsvorrichtung (103) zum Detektieren von Verstopfung und/oder Wiederöffnung der Körperarterie verursacht durch den sich ändernden Druck, der auf die Arterie ausgeübt wird, nach einem der Ansprüche 7 bis 12; und

    eine Ermittlungsvorrichtung (104) zum Ermitteln des systolischen Blutdrucks anhand von mindestens einem von einem ersten Druckwert des sich ändernden Drucks zu einem Zeitpunkt, der der detektierten Verstopfung der Arterie entspricht, und von einem zweiten Druckwert des sich ändernden Drucks zu einem Zeitpunkt, der der detektierten Wiederöffnung der Arterie entspricht.


     
    14. System nach Anspruch 13, wobei:

    die Detektionsvorrichtung (103) konfiguriert ist, um einen Maximalwert des sich ändernden Drucks zu ermitteln, der der detektierten Verstopfung der Arterie entspricht;

    die aufblasbare Manschette (101) konfiguriert ist, um mit dem Deflatieren zu beginnen, wenn der sich ändernde Druck den ermittelten Maximalwert erreicht.


     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de détection de l'occlusion et/ou de la réouverture d'une artère d'un corps provoquée par un changement de pression appliqué sur l'artère, le procédé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    obtenir (S410) un signal d'écoulement de sang indicatif d'un changement d'un écoulement de sang dans l'artère provoqué par le changement de pression en utilisant un transducteur ultrasonore de Doppler fixé à l'extérieur du corps ;

    déduire (S420) du signal d'écoulement de sang au moins une première variable indicative de la grandeur de l'écoulement de sang et une seconde variable indicative de la périodicité de l'écoulement de sang ; et

    détecter (S430) l'occlusion et/ou la réouverture de l'artère sur la base de la au moins une variable, la réouverture de l'artère étant détectée sur la base d'au moins la seconde variable qui se situe dans une seconde plage.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel, à l'étape de détection :

    l'occlusion est détectée lorsque la première variable est inférieure à un premier seuil et que la seconde variable se situe en dehors d'une première plage ; et

    la réouverture est détectée lorsque la première variable est supérieure à un second seuil et que la seconde variable se situe dans la seconde plage.


     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel, à l'étape de détection :
    la réouverture est détectée lorsque la première variable est supérieure à un second seuil et que la seconde variable se situe dans la seconde plage pendant une période de temps prédéfinie.
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 2, comprenant en outre l'étape consistant à :
    déterminer au moins l'un(e) du premier seuil, de la première plage, du second seuil et de la seconde plage à partir du signal d'écoulement de sang.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel,
    à l'étape de déduction (S420), au moins l'une d'une valeur de la première variable et d'une valeur de la seconde variable pendant une fenêtre temporelle est calculée à partir du signal d'écoulement de sang dans la fenêtre temporelle ; et,
    à l'étape de détection (S430), l'occlusion et/ou la réouverture de l'artère dans la fenêtre temporelle est ou sont détectées sur la base de la au moins une valeur pendant la fenêtre temporelle.
     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre l'étape de détermination d'une valeur maximale du changement de pression selon l'occlusion détectée de l'artère.
     
    7. Dispositif de détection de l'occlusion et/ou de la réouverture d'une artère du corps provoquées par un changement de pression appliqué sur l'artère, comprenant :

    une unité d'obtention (301) pour obtenir un signal d'écoulement de sang indicatif d'un changement de l'écoulement de sang dans l'artère provoqué par le changement de pression en utilisant un transducteur ultrasonore de Doppler fixé à l'extérieur du corps ;

    une unité de déduction (302) pour déduire du signal d'écoulement de sang au moins l'une d'une première variable indicative de la grandeur de l'écoulement de sang et d'une seconde variable indicative de la périodicité de l'écoulement de sang ; et

    une unité de détection (303) pour détecter l'occlusion et/ou la réouverture de l'artère sur la base de la au moins une variable, l'unité de détection (303) étant configurée pour détecter la réouverture lorsque la seconde variable se situe dans une seconde plage.


     
    8. Dispositif selon la revendication 7, dans lequel :

    l'unité de détection (303) est configurée pour détecter l'occlusion lorsque la première variable est inférieure à un premier seuil et que la seconde variable se situe en dehors d'une première plage ; et

    l'unité de détection (303) est configurée pour détecter la réouverture lorsque la première variable est supérieure à un second seuil et que la seconde variable se situe dans la seconde plage.


     
    9. Dispositif selon la revendication 7, dans lequel :
    l'unité de détection (303) est configurée pour détecter la réouverture lorsque la première variable est supérieure à un second seuil et que la seconde variable se situe dans la seconde plage pendant une période de temps prédéfinie.
     
    10. Dispositif selon la revendication 8, comprenant en outre :
    une première unité de détermination pour déterminer au moins l'un(e) du premier seuil, de la première plage, du second seuil et de la seconde plage à partir du signal d'écoulement de sang.
     
    11. Dispositif selon la revendication 7, dans lequel :

    l'unité de déduction (302) est configurée pour calculer au moins l'une d'une valeur de la première variable et d'une valeur de la seconde variable pendant une fenêtre temporelle à partir du signal d'écoulement de sang dans la fenêtre temporelle ; et

    l'unité de détection (303) est configurée pour détecter l'occlusion et/ou la réouverture de l'artère dans la fenêtre temporelle sur la base de la au moins une valeur pendant la fenêtre temporelle.


     
    12. Dispositif selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre :
    une seconde unité de détermination pour déterminer une valeur maximale du changement de pression selon l'occlusion détectée de l'artère.
     
    13. Système de mesure de la pression sanguine systolique d'une artère d'un corps, comprenant :

    une manchette gonflable (101) qui peut être fixée à l'extérieur du corps pour appliquer un changement de pression sur l'artère ;

    un capteur de pression (102) pour obtenir une pluralité de valeurs de pression du changement de pression à une pluralité de moments ;

    un dispositif de détection (103) pour détecter l'occlusion et/ou la réouverture de l'artère du corps provoquées par le changement de pression appliqué sur l'artère selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 12 ; et

    un dispositif de détermination (104) pour déterminer la pression sanguine systolique à partir d'au moins l'une d'une première valeur de pression du changement de pression à un moment correspondant à l'occlusion détectée de l'artère et une seconde valeur de pression du changement de pression à un moment correspondant à la réouverture détectée de l'artère.


     
    14. Système selon la revendication 13, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de détection (103) est configuré pour déterminer une valeur maximale du changement de pression selon l'occlusion détectée de l'artère ;

    la manchette gonflable (101) est configurée pour démarrer un dégonflement lorsque le changement de pression atteint la valeur maximale déterminée.


     




    Drawing









    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description