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Product Review: OMRON HeartGuide Blood Pressure Monitoring Device

Healthcare | Apr, 2021

Around 47% of coronary heart diseases and 54% of strokes can be attributed to high BP. In recent years, there have been a dramatic rise in the number of high blood pressure cases, with over 30-50% of population above 50 years suffering from chronic hypertension that can lead to stroke, heart attack, and dementia. Therefore, keeping track of blood pressure is important but testing does not need to be inconvenient, especially if you are required to check the BP more frequently. But what if a smartwatch could monitor your heart rate and track blood-pressure levels real time? Sounds convenient, right?

OMRON HeartGuide (OHG) is one of the best blood pressure monitoring smartwatches available in the market today. Being the first FDA-approved fitness watch that provides real and accurate results, HeartGuide is no less than a blessing for people suffering from hypertension, arrythmia, or other blood-pressure related chronic conditions. The wearable tech is not only fascinating, but also essential to those required to keep a tab on their heart rate to manage overall health. Till date, Omron HeartGuide is the only blood pressure monitoring watch that uses standard inflatable cuff oscillatory technology. OHG blood pressure smartwatch is easy, portable, and much better the smaller versions of the inflatable arm cuff that are difficult to carry everywhere. 

The wearable tech involves an inflating bladder on the inside, that pressurizes over the wrist and start taking readings within a click of button. The patient can start taking the measurements when the elevation is correct, however the process needs to be followed in a stationary position. The HeartGuide’s inflatable wrist-cuff can be used 30,000 times, which infers that if a single user utilizes the device to monitor heart rate even five times a day, they could use it for 16 years. The watch can store up to 100 readings at a time, which enables users to keep a check on their blood pressure patterns and make changes in their diet or lifestyle patterns to good health. Cardiologists have validated the efficiency of Omron HeartGuide as per the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation guidelines.

The readings tend to show the accurate systolic, diastolic and heart rate measurement just like traditional cuff devices. Leveraging HeartGuide, the users can conveniently check the heart rate at any place or time without thinking twice in order to stay aware. The device just takes 15 seconds to give a reliable blood pressure reading. In case of any technical errors, Omron promises to replace the watch for free.

Currently, the readings are all manual where the user need to move their arm to the chest, stop a little bit and then receive the readings. However, HeartGuide’s future update awaits FDA-clearance which could allow users to take readings while sleeping. Once approved, the device could give insights about the unknown conditions while sleeping, or effects of the medications on the body at night.

Omron’s HeartGuide isn’t like a regular smartwatch. The device has a big and bulky topping with a trans-reflective always-on display. Unlike other smartwatches, the device does not have a touchscreen, instead there are three side buttons to facilitate handling of blood pressure readings, Bluetooth pairing and features to navigate through fitness statistics.  

The Omron HeartGuide is not ideal for everybody considering its size, 1.89’’ in diameter and 115 g in weight. The targeted market segment for the device are males interested in keeping a check on their blood pressure levels. The watch is pretty thick with large rubber straps laying on top of an inflatable microcuff that uses the same underlying tech as a conventional blood pressure arm cuff. Although HeartGuide is available in small, medium, and large size with different blood pressure algorithms, but FDA has cleared only the medium one.

The HeartGuide runs its own software, showcasing only the most recent blood pressure measurement, log of hours slept and time. Blood pressure monitoring is a single spot measurement, so the user does not need to wear HeartGuide on their wrist all the time. The device might show notifications of incoming calls and text alerts, but it cannot read the text like regular smartwatches. The one lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery of HeartGuide can last for around two-to-three days when blood pressure readings are taken 10 times a day, so the user is expected to charge it 2-3 times a week for two hours for the device to be fully functional.

HeartGuide pairs with insights-driven mobile app, HeartAdvisor that acts as a digital health coach to help users adopt healthier habits and take meaningful actions. Along with HeartAdvisor app, HeartGuide becomes an essential tool for people in hypertension danger zones and early adopters who want access to heart health insights always.

The only drawback of the gold-standard blood pressure monitoring device is its hefty price tag ($499). HeartGuide is far more costly than conventional cuff blood pressure monitors and wrist cuffs. However, the wrist cuffs do not provide accurate measurements for people with thick arms. Buying the watch is an investment that one will not regret if they are serious about using the wearable tech device for maintaining their well-being. Also, the monitor does not have water-resistant functionality so the user needs to keep the device away from water always.  

HeartGuide was counted among the Best Inventions 2019 list in TIME magazine in 2019 for changing the way people perceive blood pressure monitoring integrating into a sleek watch that helps one to stay on top of cardiovascular health. Despite its hefty cost, the medical device was greeted with an overwhelming demand when first launched in the US.


Besides OMRON HeartGuide, there are plenty of other smartwatches available in the market that enables blood pressure monitoring, but they are not so accurate or reliable. Let us compare the most popular blood pressure watches on the basis of convenience, precision, and price range.

YAMAY Fitness Tracker with Blood Pressure Monitor

If you are looking for an affordable yet reliable smartwatch with waterproofing feature, that is also compatible with Android and iPhone devices, then YAMAY fitness tracker is the smartwatch for you. The smartwatch allows one to take blood pressure measurements manually in real-time. The compact, durable, and flexible design of the watch make it comfortable to wear at all times unlike the bulky design of the HeartGuide that makes it male-specific.

Pros

ü  10-days battery life

ü  Features both blood pressure monitoring and heart-rate tracking

ü  Waterproof

ü  Good price

Cons

×     Compromised accuracy

×     Not approved by FDA

MorePro Blood Pressure Monitor (V100s)

The smartwatch constantly tracks heart rate and uploads to its corresponding MorePro app. Thanks to its ergonomic designs and compact size, it is an excellent option for someone who wants sleek style and enhanced functionality. The device is water-resistant and allows blood pressure and heart rate monitoring in real-time. The advanced functionality of the fitness tracker reminds female wearers about their menstrual cycle to stay abreast of their fertility.

Pros

ü  Suitable for everyday wear

ü  Dustproof and waterproof

ü  Displays blood pressure

ü  Sleep monitoring

ü  Effortlessly syncs with smartphones and GPS

ü  Long battery life

Cons

×     Only one basic Bluetooth connectivity

×     Need to improve accuracy

×     Not FDA-approved

×     No touchscreen

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the rare smartwatches to have received FDA-clearance for the quality of their electrocardiogram (EKG) that facilitates monitoring heart rhythms abnormalities. However, the blood pressure and oxygen level monitoring are not FDA-cleared, thus its efficacy cannot be fully relied upon. The battery life of the smartwatch is limited to two days. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the watch allows recording blood pressure using the PPT technology. Unfortunately, the bulky weight of the device makes it more suitable for males.

Pros

ü  Easy user interface

ü  Rotating bezel

ü  Sleek design

ü  Allows recording blood-pressure

Cons

×     Bulky design

×     Short battery life

DFG Smart Watch HRV

The smartwatch enables recording of blood pressure within every five minutes and sync with its phone app every day for convenience of users. The watch even provides users the flexibility to calibrate blood pressure reading by entering professional grade equipment data into the app for improving accuracy of the readings.

Pros

ü  Big touchscreen

ü  Connectivity and app compatibility

ü  Sleep monitoring

ü  Improved sensors

Cons

×     No FDA-approval

×     BP accuracy needs to be improved

DoSmarter Fitness Watch

Designed to be worn by men and women, the fitness watch is designed for all purpose with the added value of blood pressure monitoring. The watch can be worn during hot saunas or baths, and the lightweight watch is simple to use. The best thing about the watch is that the blood pressure can be turned to automatic mode, and the user can make the readings more accurate by filling in profile details.

Pros

ü  Light and stylish

ü  Ideal for sleep monitoring

ü  Suitable for men and women

Cons

×     Blood pressure monitoring comes as an extra benefit not as main feature

×     Quality of measurements can be improved

Conclusion

Although Omron HeartGuide blood pressure evaluation is impressive, it might take some more years to make the wearable tech truly user-friendly for all the demographics. The company does not ship its products outside the US, and the HeartAdvisor app does not work in Europe. The watch display looks appealing but feels heavier, so it is definitely not the best smartwatch for 24/7 use. Considering the fact that blood pressure affects geriatric population more, the watch design should have been light weight and easy to wear. Also, it is a pity that developers have left out female audiences with smaller wrists, however the smallest-cuff version is expected to arrive soon after FDA-clearance.

Nowadays, people are looking for smartwatch with multifunctionality otherwise they would need to wear another watch for measuring arm activity, sleep tracking, etc. and Omron HeartGuide does not provide that. Although the device displays notification alerts of incoming calls, messages, or emails, it does not have touchscreen feature. Putting all the limitations aside, if the user is purely looking for smartwatch device to monitor blood pressure, then no other smartwatch ensures as excellent accuracy as Omron HeartGuide!

 

According to TechSci research report on “Global Blood Pressure Monitoring Devices Market By Product Type (Digital Blood Pressure Monitor, Sphygmomanometer, Transducers, Others) By Technology (Digital, Android, Wearable) By End User (Hospitals & Clinics, Ambulatory Surgery Centres, Home Care, Others) By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2026”, the global blood pressure monitoring devices market is expected to grow at a significant rate in the coming years, owing to the increasing geriatric population and burgeoning risk of lifestyle diseases.

According to another TechSci research report on “Global Cardiac Monitoring & Cardiac Rhythm Management Devices Market By Cardiac Monitoring Devices (ECG Devices, Implantable Loop Recorders, Mobile Cardiac Telemetry Devices, Cardiac Output Monitoring Devices, Others) By Cardiac Rhythm Management Devices (Defibrillators v/s Pacemakers) By End User (Hospitals & Clinics, Cardiac Care Centers, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Others) By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2026”, the global cardiac monitoring & cardiac rhythm management devices market is projected to grow at a steady rate through 2026 due to surging treatments costs of cardiovascular disorders and growing demand for ambulatory and home services.  

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