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Amy embarks on blood pressure research project


Zoe Satherley
5 January 2010
When 20-year-old Amy Coy enrolled at Southern Cross University she had no way of anticipating that she would be involved in groundbreaking research on a new way of measuring blood pressure.

But Amy, a second-year student studying for her Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science in the School of Health and Human Sciences, has had her first research project supported by a Summer Scholarship from the Heart Foundation.

Titled ‘An evaluation of central blood pressure in cardiac rehabilitation’, the project will be conducted in conjunction with the cardiac rehabilitation unit at Lismore Base Hospital over January and February, supervised by University staff Dr Rosanne Coutts and Mr Kade Davison.

The pilot project aims to investigate the efficacy of measures of blood pressure using new technology called ‘pressure pulse waveform’.

The SphygmoCor pressure pulse waveform unit provides a tool for the non-invasive assessment of the cardiovascular system, focused on central blood pressures and measures of arterial stiffness and autonomic function.

Because it measures central blood pressure, it has been shown to be a superior predictor of cardiovascular function and beneficial in the management of patients with hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, high risk pregnancy, drug therapy management and cardiovascular disease conditions.

“I am really thrilled to have been given this opportunity so early in my studies,” Amy said. “I chose to study at Southern Cross University because I am interested in health and the human body and how it works, so this is the perfect course for me and I am really glad I chose it.

“The experience has been exciting and rewarding so far and I have enjoyed great support from my lecturers and supervisors, who gave me tremendous guidance and encouragement in putting the research proposal to the Heart Foundation and helping to train me in the use of the equipment.

“I will be using the equipment on patients at the hospital and evaluating the results to see if this technology provides improved data to assist in managing various conditions.

“Southern Cross University has purchased the equipment and will be using it this year for both student training and in its new public health clinic, so it will be good to be have the research outcomes from my project to better inform how the equipment can be effectively used.”

Students can still apply to study at Southern Cross University this year. The University provides a range of flexible study options. For anyone considering studying their degree by distance education, applications can be made directly to the University. The Direct Application Form can be downloaded from the website and applications are open throughout January and into February. Personalised campus tours can be booked at any of the campuses by phoning 02 6620 3975.

Information about courses and how to apply to SCU is available at

Anyone with questions about their applications or changing preferences should contact student services on 1800 626 481.

Photo: Amy Coy is undertaking research on the new pressure pulse waveform technology for testing blood pressure.