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Physiol Meas. 2002 Feb;23(1):85-93.

The difference in pulse transit time to the toe and finger measured by photoplethysmography.

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  • 1Department of Applied Physics/Electro-Optics, Jerusalem College of Technology, Israel.


Blood pressure pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a parameter which is related to arterial distensibility. Its direct assessment, by measuring the appearance time of a pressure pulse in two sites along an artery and the distance between the two sites, is complicated and inaccurate. In the current study, pulse transit time (PTT) to the toes and fingers of 44 normotensive male subjects was measured by photoplethysmography (PPG) and ECG. The arrival time of the pulses at the toe and finger was determined from the foot of the systolic rise of the PPG signal, i.e. at end-diastolic time. Two parameters, which are related to PWV, were tested: the time delay between the ECG R-wave and the arrival time of the pulses at the toe (E-T PTT), and the difference in the transit time of the blood pressure pulses between the toe and finger (T-F PTTD). E-T PTT and T-F PTTD decreased as functions of the subject's age and systolic blood pressure (SBP), but their dependence on the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was not statistically significant. The decrease of the PTT parameters with age is attributed to the direct structural decrease of the arterial compliance with age and not to functional effects associated with the increase of the blood pressure with age, since the PTT parameters did not depend on DBP though the measurements were performed at end-diastole.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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