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The effect of vascular changes on the photoplethysmographic signal at different hand elevations

Hickey, M., Phillips, J.P. & Kyriacou, P. A. (2015). The effect of vascular changes on the photoplethysmographic signal at different hand elevations. Physiological Measurement, 36(3), pp. 425-440. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/36/3/425


In order to further understand the contribution of venous and arterial effects to the photoplethysmographic (PPG) signal, recordings were made from twenty healthy volunteer subjects during an exercise in which the right hand was raised and lowered with reference to heart level. Red (R) and infrared (IR) PPG signals were obtained from the right index finger using a custom-made PPG processing system. Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) signals were also recorded from an adjacent fingertip. The signals were compared with simultaneous PPG signals obtained from the left index finger. On lowering the hand to 50 cm below heart level, both ac and dc PPG amplitudes from the finger decreased (e.g. 18.70% and 63.15% decrease in infrared dc and ac signals respectively). The decrease in dc amplitude most likely corresponded to increased venous volume, while the decrease in ac PPG amplitude was due to regulatory adjustments on the arterial side in response to venous distension. Conversely, ac and dc PPG amplitudes increased on raising the arm above heart level. Morphological changes in the ac PPG signal are thought to be due to vascular resistance changes, predominately venous, as the hand position is changed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Accepted manuscript
Publisher Keywords: photoplethysmography, oxygen saturation, venous pulsations, hand elevation, vasoconstriction, vasodilation
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
[thumbnail of Phys Meas MH JP PK 2014 REVISED MANUSCRIPT.pdf]
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