West Lafayette, Indiana - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that heart disease killed more than 611,000 Americans in 2013, and was the leading cause of death in the nation.
In a presidential proclamation that named February as American Heart Month, President Barack Obama wrote, "Across our Nation, we have lost devoted mothers and fathers, loved siblings, and cherished friends to this devastating epidemic. During American Heart Month, as we honor their memories, let us recommit to improving our heart health and continuing the fight against this deadly disease, for ourselves and our families."
Purdue University researchers continue to fight to improve heart health with new technologies, some of which have been licensed to startup companies. These technologies include:
* A non-invasive system to measure blood pressure in newborn children and infants. The system provides the possibility of near-continuous blood pressure monitoring. It was developed by the late Leslie A. Geddes, who was the Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering, and his research team.
* A new set of algorithms to measure blood pressure. The algorithms use the mean pressure of the test that uses a cuff placed around the upper arm, which leads to more accurate results. It was developed by Geddes and his research team.
* SafePace, a mechanical device that could lower the rate of lead dislodgement of pacemakers, which regulate the beating of the heart by delivering electrical impulses through the leads. It was developed by Purdue University alumni Elizabeth Mercer, Johnny Zhang, Jason Lee and Joseph Pellettiere. A video about SafePace is available at
* Vibronix Inc., a startup based on the work of Purdue professor Ji-Xin Cheng, could help cardiologists improve the diagnosis of heart disease by showing the severity and location of a patient's heart disease. A video about Vibronix is available at