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SphygmoCor is now at Cellworks – the home of technology at the cutting edge of understanding your risks of ischemic heart disease. We are one of only two private clinics in New Zealand equipped with this gold standard in heart health testing. Understanding what is happening with your heart health is crucial to assessing and addressing risk factors, which is why we are excited to offer this advanced testing at Cellworks!

At Cellworks, we are already making use of this new testing with our existing patients and alongside our various Personalised Health Programmes. Compared to many other heart health assessments, SphygmoCor is cheap, fast, and no radiation or drugs are involved. The testing is not invasive, it doesn’t involve any needles and is a similar experience to having your blood pressure taken at your GP’s office. However the information gathered will be significantly more accurate and allow for far more information to be deduced from the results.

Too many people only discover information about their heart health when it is too late. At Cellworks we work with you to change that – give us a call today at (09) 818-6565 to book your heart health testing or email now.



What is SphygmoCor?

The SphygmoCor® technology measures the pulse wave that occurs when the heart beats and the effects that the wave has on the arterial system throughout the body including end organs. This is crucial to measuring risks of ischemic heart disease, which is defined by changes in arteries that bring about narrowing or deterioration. These changes impact the blood supply to your end organs.

Normal brachial blood pressure using current technology, the standard blood pressure taken by your GP, only records the blood pressure in the arm. It is known that this can be anywhere from 20%-50% inaccurate and thus has limited clinical value. Rather, with this technology, we are able to have the most accurate reading of blood pressure from the heart. This is the main attribute of the testing, the ability to devise the central aortic pressure waveform non-invasively.

While this technology is new, the idea is not. The endeavour to gain the information that this testing provides resulted in electrocardiograms, known as ECG. More than 100 years later, we now have the sensors which make this testing possible – alongside the information and advances that came with open heart surgery.

Why is SphygmoCor at Cellworks? 

At Cellworks we make use of the ability to measure the central aortic pressure waveform (the blood pressure closest to the heart) to guide assessment and intervention around health risks. This technology allows for fast, efficient and ongoing testing for our patients with minimal need to refer to outside clinics. Many cardiovascular tests are invasive and expensive, limiting their use and thus the information a clinician has about their patient.

SphygmoCor (pulse wave analysis), because of its extremely sensitive sensors – these are the same sensors used when eye pressure is being gauged by Optometrists) – can identify changes in the arterial system that are not monitored or checked by doing a normal brachial blood pressure check.

As a result of the SphygmoCor’s ability to measure the pulse wave, other factors such as arterial stiffness can be calculated. Arterial stiffness leads to hypertension (raised blood pressure) and hypertension can lead to Cardiovascular disease, left ventricular failure, Angina, Heart Attack, Stroke and it is theorised to play a role in sudden death syndrome.

Using pulse wave analysis we can identify changes, such as artery stiffness, 7-10 years before we would normally see changes in a Brachial blood pressure that would raise clinical concerns. Additionally by the time plaque is able to be measured by existing methods, ischemic heart disease is already advanced. The ability to gain information about artery health earlier and easier means that your personal risk can be best understood and managed.

SphygmoCor technology has proven to be incredibly accurate and repeatable with it’s results. Currently considered the gold standard when it comes to central blood pressure measurement by those undertaking research-  over 1,000 research papers have been produced regarding the use of pulse wave analysis when measuring arterial function, this is the go to control technology for this research.

What happens during and after the test?

The non-invasive testing is similar to getting your blood pressure taken by your GP, and doesn’t require any medication or radiation. Immediately following the testing Dr. Craig will give you a full consultation on your results. These results are contextually based, giving you a comparison to others your height and age. At Cellworks we make sure that you understand the detailed breakdown of your health.

As a part of your testing and consultation you will not only be taken through your detailed personal results, but also given specific advice about lifestyle changes that could impact your health and vitamins that specifically target hypertension.

When you leave the clinic you will have your full results in hand electronically on a USB, or these can be emailed to you. This report is given in easy to understand language so you can get the most from your results. If needed you may be referred to a medical doctor or cardiologist in the unlikely case that your results indicate this kind of medical intervention.

SphygmoCor testing can take place independently through our Heart Health testing and it is also a part of our Executive Health Assessment and the Performance and Longevity programmes. The Executive Health Assessment and the Performance and Longevity programmes give you access to heart testing at no additional cost. To find our more about these programs, click here!



Why is understanding the risks of ischemic heart disease so important? 

There is a lot of discussion in the media about heart disease, although information about what is best for your heart can be confusing and contradictory. Everyone has an opinion, or a fad, that is sold as being what is best for overall health. However to gain an accurate picture of you need testing. Most New Zealanders have had no heart testing done, and medical intervention occurs often after disease processes are well advanced. Ischemic heart disease means changes in the arteries that bring about narrowing or deterioration. This impacts the blood supply to the heart and organs in the body.

What is heart disease? Heart disease is also known as cardiovascular disease and is a term that encompasses a variety of conditions effecting the heart itself and the circulatory system – your veins and arteries. These conditions include heart rhythm disorders such as (arrhythmias) valve disorders, congenital heart defects (birth defects) and diseases of the arteries such as stroke and heart attack.

Heart disease is New Zealand’s number one killer according to the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Heart Foundation.


Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of premature death for Māori males and both non-Māori males and females, and it was the second leading cause of premature death for Māori females.

Cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel disease) is still the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for 30% of deaths annually 

  • Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from heart disease 
  • Many of these deaths are premature and preventable. 

There is a definite need to focus on heart attacks because a heart attack can be sudden with limited warning signs and often the first time the person is aware that they have a problem is when they suffer a heart attack and subsequent death. While a heart attack seems to strike out of nowhere, it actually involves a sequence of steps that build over years to culminate in a crisis experienced over minutes or hours.

By the time that a heart attack heart occurs, for instance, there could have been a build up of plaque and artery deterioration over many years. These changes are indicated by variation in pulse waves and a true understanding of the pressure of blood in the heart and limbs . Through this testing, now available at Cellworks, we can gain accurate insight into your heart health.

What are the signs of a heart attack?

The signs that someone is having a heart attack may include, sweating, crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, cold extremities, a severe stabbing or  punching type pain in their chest, chest pain that radiates up into their neck or jaw or shoulder followed by a burning sensation down their left arm. If you or anyone you know complains of any of these symptoms you should call 111 immediately. Tell the operator that you, or the person you are with, has unexplained chest pain and you need an ambulance.

Early warning signs, possibly in the days leading up to a heart attack might include, mild fleeting type chest pain, indigestion type pain, fatigue, fatigue resulting in cat napping, loss of breath while doing a normal activity such as climbing stairs or physical exhaustion such as the persons normal, run, walk bike, swim, a change in their pallor (the colour of their complexion), which will be pale compared to their usual appearance, and cold extremities.

These early warning signs can be subtle and could in fact be a number of other conditions such as a flu or a virus and herein lies the danger of unsuspected heart disease resulting in a heart attack.

            Causes and risks of heart attack include:

  • A family history of heart disease
  • Diet, especially a diet which is not high in leafy green vegetables
  • High blood pressure
  • High stress or low grade chronic stress over an extended period of time.
  • Smoking which constricts blood vessels and causes blood to become sticky and tacky therefore restricting blood flow
  • Obesity or even weight gain with a BMI above 30
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance a ( pre- diabetic state )
  • Age
  • Excessive Alcohol or caffeine intake
  • Blood Markers identifying inflammation  such as – C reactive protein, Homocysteine, and clotting factors such as elevated fibrinogen levels.
  • Cholesterol factors such as  Total Cholesterol ratio and HDL ratio and elevated Lippoprotein (a) levels.
  • Physical activity.

What, if anything at all, can you do to prevent heart disease? Is having a heart attack just bad luck or was the person’s time up?

There is the good news, more and more research and health professionals agree that heart disease is in-fact preventable. Heart disease is a pathological process, it develops over years. However heart disease is preventable, so too is a heart attack – which could ultimately save someone from an early death! It is crucial, however, to understand what is happening with your heart health long before a cardiac event.  

One New Zealander dies every 90 minutes from heart disease ­- these deaths are premature and preventable. Heart disease is a pathological process, it develops over years, often without warning-  someone can have a heart attack causing sudden death and without knowing they had heart disease for many years previously. As a ex-Coronary care nurse and survivor of a heart attack Dr. Craig knows from personal experience how crucial it is to get the right advice when it comes to heart health.

Inflammation is one of the most important processes at play in order for heart disease to develop, but there are things that you can do to stop the inflammatory process from occurring. 

Current Scientific and Health Professional literature points towards Inflammation as a major factor involved in the development of Ischemic Heart Disease    

           “Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown strong and consistent relationships between markers of inflammation and risk of future cardiovascular events’ – read here.  

The role of inflammation has become well established over the past decade in theories describing the atherosclerotic disease process. From a pathological viewpoint, all stages including the  initiation, growth, and complication of the atherosclerotic plaque, are considered an inflammatory response to injury. The major injurious factors that promote atherogenesis include hypertension, atherogenic lipoproteins, hyperglycemia and cigarette smoking – read here. 

While inflammation has been linked with heart disease for some time Many other major diseases that plague us—including, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have also been linked to chronic inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is how the body protects itself acutely from injury and infection. While having an inflammatory response is necessary, inflammation that persists day in and day out is not desirable. This is called Chronic Inflammation, a prolonged inflammatory response that can result in damage to coronary arteries called Atherosclerosis. This is when inflammation becomes your enemy.

Atherosclerosis is the process of cholesterol accumulation as a result long term chronic inflammation, scarring and calcification (hardening) of the coronary arteries.

This results in narrowing of the arteries which can cause chest pain also known as angina which can lead to plaque rupture and heart attack.

It is important to note that many people suffering from heart disease don’t suffer from angina, getting no warning of an impending heart attack and its subsequent common outcome, death.

This is why poor heart health resulting in heart attack is known as the “silent killer.”

A rupture or displacement of this plaque can therefore result in smaller arteries getting totally blocked resulting in no blood supply to the heart muscle which causes muscle death.

What can cause inflammation in our arteries?

There are many related factors which can cause inflammation. We have known for a long time the impacts that diet has on heart health. In 2006 research published by the European Heart Journal highlights diet as a major factor in the development of inflammation in coronary heart disease. However, beyond diet alone genetic, environmental and other lifestyle factors play a huge role in the disease process over many years.

How do I know if am at risk of chronic inflammation and coronary heart disease?

Many of these factors are highly dependent on your own genetic makeup and gene expression. What might be an inflammatory trigger for one person may not be as much of an issue for others. To know if you are at risk of chronic inflammation and coronary heart disease comprehensive assessments are needed. It’s time to move past general advice regarding food and exercise, instead applying what we know from the latest research about the key risk factors to individualised patient care interventions. 

That is why at Cellworks we have developed the Executive Health Assessment- making use of the latest in pathology markers, genetic testing, and blood pressure pulse wave analysis.

The really good news is each of us can change our genetic expression with specific targeted interventions. This is why it’s crucial that we know what our individual risk factors are because these factors can be reduced. At Cellworks we are at the forefront of bringing the latest genetic research to you.

Inflammation is a critical component of multiple disease processes, including ischemic heart disease, making it a key target of our Performance and Longevity programme protocols. These programmes and assessments are designed help you get the most out of your life by better understanding your unique genetic risks and the environmental factors affecting your health. Take control of your health today, contact us now to find our more about our personalised health programs.


The wellness of an organisation’s employees is key to productivity and the ongoing growth of a sustainable business. Taking care of the overall health of a workforce builds a better work environment for all involved. By now it is a given that we are all aware of the positive total impact of good health, at Cellworks we offer the tools to identify and manage health risks.

We are able to partner with forward thinking business’ and workplaces to bring this innovative testing to employees and help equip your staff with information that can transform their health.

The difficulty for many organisations when it comes to decision making around health and wellness programs for their employees is that health is not best achieved with a one-size fits all approach. Every person, based on their genes and divergent environmental influences, needs to manage their healthcare in different ways. With one test we can get a far more accurate and detailed understanding of a patient’s heart health, and given the speed and ease of testing, changes to lifestyle, diet and environmental factors can be measured and altered accordingly.

Get in touch to find out more about how Cellworks and SphygmoCor® can help your business. Call us on (09) 818-6565 or email us – here.