Prof. Hao-Ming Hsiao, PhD, Founder and CTO
“We want to provide personalized mobile hospital to practise early detection for preventive healthcare,”—the comment from Prof. Hao-Ming Hsiao, PhD, the Founder and CTO of Pulxion sums up the genesis of his company.
Being a professor at the National Taiwan University, Prof. Hsiao has been working on medical devices for interventional cardiology such as stents and catheters for years. However, those are treatment options for diseased patients. What he wanted is to come up with preventive technologies that could detect stroke risk at an earlier stage for the general public with simplicity, convenience, and affordable cost. That’s why, he along with his two co-founders, Prof. Hsien-Li Kao, MD, CMO, and Thomas Hsu, Co-Founder and CEO founded Pulxion to develop unique technologies for digital health and translated digital trends into clinical solutions and services. The company’s mission is to bring disease diagnosis to the household for fulfilling the dream of a “personalized mobile hospital.” Their first major milestone toward that goal is a screening device for carotid artery stenosis and stroke (carotid artery stenosis is a leading indicator for stroke), PulStroke. It is quick, accurate, affordable, and can be used anywhere, anytime, without medical professionals. “We envision that this product could serve as the first-line screening device to the general public for stroke prevention in the future world,” mentions Prof. Hsiao.
This technology, the first of its kind in the world, is able to uncover the stroke correlation with subtle motions of the carotid arteries. “We believe the narrowing of the blood vessels change the hemodynamic behaviour of the blood flow, which is reflected by the pulse characteristics on the skin surface.
We envision that this product could serve as the first-line screening device to the general public for stroke prevention in the future world
The pulse characteristics, if extracted, are able to differentiate the diseased patients from healthy persons,” states Prof. Hsiao. PulStroke uses dynamic motion analysis and quantification to extract useful information from the pulses for stroke risk assessments.
The carotid arteries take oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. The pulse from the carotids may be felt on either side of the front of the neck just below the angle of the jaw.
This rhythmic “beat” is caused by varying volumes of the blood being pushed out of the heart toward the extremities. The entire process is completed by taking a short video clip of 20 seconds aimed at the neck under LED light with only one simple click, anywhere, anytime. In 3~5 minutes, the user receives an evaluation report indicating low to high risk for stroke assessments. Further, the accuracy of PulStroke is higher than 90 percent when compared to the Carotid Ultrasound clinical data.
In October 2019, Pulxion was invited to attend the World Stroke Day in Taiwan to make its debut and perform screening tests for the general public. More than 150 persons were inspected in three hours, which demonstrated the efficiency of its product in its first appearance in public. PulStroke drew a huge crowd and was well received by the general public. About 15 percent of the crowd was tested positive with potential stroke risk. These persons might look healthy but were unaware of their health conditions at all. They were advised to visit local hospitals for further diagnosis. Many of them expressed their sincere gratitude for the life-saving product.
With many such positive inputs, Pulxion plans to cooperate with major chain pharmacies, clinics, and healthcare centers, putting PulStroke at key locations for providing service to local communities. “We could also work with enterprise, insurance companies, etc., and tailor our product to their specific needs,” says Prof. Hsiao. “We also team up with different corporate venture capitals to speed up our business expansion and production. Our goal is to bring this product to the general public and to every household.”
In the future, this technology can be further extended to various types of diseases such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), AV shunt obstruction for dialysis patients, Parkinson’s disease, etc. Pulxion is working diligently on these new indications and hopes to launch them globally by the next year. “Taiwan is the first testing ground for us. Going forward, we want to take this technology to large countries such as US, EU, China, where medical resources are distant to one another due to vast territory. We plan to launch in the States in a year or two and hopefully you will see PulStroke at your local CVS and Walgreens stores nearby,” concludes Prof. Hsiao.