Measuring pulse wave velocity with a novel, simple sensor on the finger tip: A feasibility study in healthy volunteers

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Objective: The speed of pressure pulses traveling through the blood, the pulse wave velocity (PWV), is a metric that provides substantial information about the passive and active elasticity of the blood vessels. Therefore, PWV is a valuable parameter in the diagnosis of cardiovascular and vessel-related neurological diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a novel, simple, easy-to-use, photoplethysmography-based Multi Photodiode Array (MPA) provides PWV measurements that agree with measurements done with more complicated and harder-to-use systems currently used in clinical practice. Methods: An often-used vascular perturbation that changes the conduit artery vasomotor tone during reactive hyperemia was imposed on thirty healthy volunteers. The MPA was used alongside and its results compared to those of a commonly used measurement device, the Biopac-system, during flow-mediated dilation (FMD). This way it was investigated if measurements with these systems, measuring over two different, but partly overlapping vessel trajectories agree. Results: The baseline absolute PWV values were significantly lower for the MPA as compared to the Biopac-system. Additionally, Bland-Altman plots and Pearson's correlation tests suggested good agreement between the two PWV measurement techniques during the FMD. Conclusion: Measuring PWV with the MPA in clinical practice is feasible and provides reliable data. Significance: The MPA may substantially simplify PWV measurements and may enable long-term PWV monitoring as long as one is aware of the relation between PWV and the vascular trajectory over which it is measured.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065010
Number of pages10
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • endothelial function
  • flow-mediated dilation
  • Photoplethysmography (PPG)
  • pulse wave velocity (PWV)

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