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Monte Carlo investigation of light-tissue interaction in photoplethysmography

Chatterjee, S. (2018). Monte Carlo investigation of light-tissue interaction in photoplethysmography. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Photoplethysmography (PPG) is a non-invasive photometric technique which measures changes in the volume of blood in the biological tissue. PPG is well-known for its application in pulse oximetry used for the continuous monitoring of arterial blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). Over the past decade, there has been a plethora of research in the field of PPG, with potential applications beyond pulse oximetry and heart rate monitoring. Such applications explore the utilisation of PPG for the assessment of various bio-markers relating to vascular mechanics, haemodynamics and many others. With the growing research interest in the field of PPG, a comprehensive understanding of the light-tissue interaction-based working principle underlying the technique is essential. This thesis is focussed on the investigation of the fundamental light-tissue interactions in PPG using the Monte Carlo method. Tissue models have been developed in this thesis which were characterised by the optical properties (e.g., wavelength- dependent coefficients of scattering and absorption etc.), the anatomical features (e.g., stratification and dimension of tissue layers and sublayers etc.), and the physiological parameters (water and blood content in tissue layers etc.). The Monte Carlo strategy was verified, and was initially implemented to model the light propagation through a monolayer perfused dermal tissue volume in a reflective mode PPG at the red and near-infrared wavelengths, usually used in pulse oximetry. Results illustrated the distribution of the scattering-absorption interaction events, and quantified the optical pathlength, penetration depth and detected reflectance with the variable sensor geometry (i.e., source-detector separation) and physiological states (i.e., the volume of blood and oxygen saturation) of the tissue. The monolayer model was also employed to produce the plot resembling the ‘calibration curve’ used in pulse oximetry. With the knowledge gained from the monolayer-model study, a similar investigation was performed on a heterogeneous tissue structure of a human finger which was executed in both reflective and transmissive geometrical settings. The calibration curves produced from the detected reflectance and transmittance exhibited a high correlation. The absorbances of red and near-infrared light by individual layers of the finger were quantified at systole and diastole. To the relative absorbance, the contributions of dermis and bone were the maximum and the minimum, respectively. The dependence of the optical pathlength on the source-detector separation and the operating wavelength was quantified by the Differential Pathlength Factor (DPF), which was assessed for the reflective mode PPG by simulating light propagation through a human forearm tissue volume. The DPF values were used in experimentally obtained PPG signal in order to determine the time-change in the concentration of oxyhaemoglobin and deoxyhaemoglobin. Cross-talk and absolute errors were calculated between the simulated and approximated DPFs. The results presented in the thesis contribute greatly to the understanding on PPG light-tissue interaction. Such knowledge could also greatly contribute to the development of the new generation PPG sensors for various applications.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Engineering > Electrical & Electronic Engineering
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