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Amy puts her heart into uni trial

Amy Coy, a third-year Southern Cross University Sport and Exercise Science student, checks blood pressure information recordings on a SphygmoCor.
Amy Coy, a third-year Southern Cross University Sport and Exercise Science student, checks blood pressure information recordings on a SphygmoCor. Jacklyn Wagner

WHILE most uni students are enjoying the sun and surf on their summer holidays, Amy Coy is testing pressure waveform sphygmomanometers.

The Southern Cross University student has just entered the third year of her sport and exercise science course and is testing the new type of blood pressure monitors as part of a research scholarship she received from the Heart Foundation.

Ms Coy is measuring blood pressure through the whole cardiac cycle using a pen-like instrument which is pressed down on the radial artery to record the blood pressure waveform.

“I’m looking at what’s happening during exercise and after exercise,” she said.

While Ms Coy has spent the past two months doing solid research on using the blood pressure monitor, called the SphygmoCor, she is now ready to rec-ruit subjects from the cardiac rehabilitation program running at the Lismore Base Hospital.

“The ideal number of people in the study is 12,” she said.

“There’s a range of people coming through the program, but I’m expecting mainly people in their mid-40s and upwards.”

With studies finding the aorta hardens more with age than peripheral arteries in the arm, which are usually used to measure blood pressure with cuff monitors, Ms Coy says the new technology could better identify the effects of medications and exercise on the heart.

“It gives more information and estimates the aortic blood pressure so we’ll look for any differences seen centrally and not peripherally,” she said.

Her supervisor, Kade Davison, said the 20-year-old was the first SCU student to receive the nationally competitive scholarship.

The study will measure the blood pressure of participants as they take a two-minute cycling test.

“We hypothesise that the measures taken with the SphygmoCor will more accurately identify improvements in cardiovascular function with rehabilitation than traditional blood pressure measurement,” Mr Davison said.



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