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Investigation of finger reflectance photoplethysmography in volunteers undergoing a local sympathetic stimulation

Njoum, H. & Kyriacou, P. A. (2013). Investigation of finger reflectance photoplethysmography in volunteers undergoing a local sympathetic stimulation. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 450(1), article number 012012. doi: 10.1088/1742-6596/450/1/012012


Optical sensors used in clinical applications have gained great popularity over the last few decades, especially the photoplethysmographic (PPG) technique used in estimating arterial blood oxygen saturation in the well-known medical devices called pulse oximeters. In this study we investigate the photoplethysmogram further in an effort to understand its origin better, as there is a significant void in the current knowledge on the PPG quantitative measurement. The photoplethysmographic signal provides a heart rhythm pulsating AC component, and a non-pulsating DC component. The signal is commonly believed to originate from tissue volume changes only and hasn't been investigated intensively. This in vivo study examines the source of the PPG signal in relation to pulse amplitude and pulse rhythm while volunteers undergo a right hand ice immersion. It was found that the PPG signal is sensitive in detecting the sympathetic stimulation which corresponds to volumetric and heart rate changes. During the immersion, AC pulse amplitudes (PA) from both hands decreased significantly, while DC levels increased significantly in the right hand and non-significantly in the left hand. Also, a significant decrease in the pulse repetition time (PRT) was observed. Using blood pressure-flow theories, these results suggest that there are possibly other factors in the blood flow regulation that alter the blood optical density which contributes to the detected signal. Further studies need to investigate PPGs in relation to blood optical density and the dynamics of the pulsatile flow effects besides volumetric changes. Such investigations might explore further applications of the PPG in medicine.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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