A new solar-powered blood pressure measuring device for low-resource settings

Gianfranco Parati, Michael Ochan Kilama, Andrea Faini, Elisa Facelli, Kenneth Ochen, Cyprian Opira, Shanthi Mendis, Jiguang Wang, Neil Atkins, Eoin O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The management of high blood pressure (BP) is particularly inadequate in low-income countries, where the unavailability of a reliable, durable, and affordable BP-measurement device is a major obstacle to accurate diagnosis. Recognizing this, a World Health Organization committee was established to correct this deficiency by influencing manufacturers to produce a device according to predetermined criteria and to demonstrate the suitability of the device for low resource settings. A device, which fulfilled stipulated criteria in being inexpensive, semiautomated, and solar powered, was validated according to the International Protocol of the European Society of Hypertension; it was then subjected to field testing in 716 subjects from 2 centers in Uganda and 1 in Zambia. The Omron HEM-SOLAR having previously fulfilled accuracy criteria of the International Protocol for both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fulfilled criteria for SBP, but not for DBP, when revalidated. In field testing, average SBPs and DBPs were 120.5±21.6/74. 6±13.8 mm Hg and 122.3±21.8/71.2±14.0 mm Hg, respectively, with the auscultatory technique and the Omron HEM-SOLAR, respectively. Between-device agreement in defining SBP was 93.7%. The Omron HEM-SOLAR was favored over the mercury sphygmomanometer by both patients and investigators. In summary, considering the accuracy, robustness, relatively low cost, operational simplicity, and advantages such as solar power, the Omron HEM-SOLAR is likely to be a valuable device for improving BP measurement in low-resource settings with nonphysician health workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1053
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Blood pressure measurement device
  • hypertension
  • low-resource settings
  • solar power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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