Development of a PPG-based hardware and software system deployable on elbow and thumb for real-time estimation of pulse transit time

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Valerio, Andrea
Hajzeraj, Adhurim
Talebi, Omid Varnosfaderani
Belcastro, Marco
Tedesco, Salvatore
Demarchi, Danilo
O'Flynn, Brendan
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Blood pressure (BP) is a vital parameter used by clinicians to diagnose issues in the human cardiovascular system. Cuff-based BP devices are currently the standard method for on-the-spot and ambulatory BP measurements. However, cuff-based devices are not comfortable and are not suitable for long-term BP monitoring. Many studies have reported a significant correlation between pulse transit time (PTT) with blood pressure. However, this relation is impacted by many internal and external factors which might lower the accuracy of the PTT method. In this paper, we present a novel hardware system consisting of two custom photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors designed particularly for the estimation of PTT. In addition, a software interface and algorithms have been implemented to perform a real-time assessment of the PTT and other features of interest from signals gathered between the brachial artery and the thumb. A preclinical study has been conducted to validate the system. Five healthy volunteer subjects were tested and the results were then compared with those gathered using a reference device. The analysis reports a mean difference among subjects equal to -3.75±7.28 ms. Moreover, the standard deviation values obtained for each individual showed comparable results with the reference device, proving to be a valuable tool to investigate the factors impacting the BP-PTT relationship.Clinical Relevance— The proposed system proved to be a feasible solution to detect blood volume changes providing good quality signals to be used in the study of BP-PTT relationship.
Performance evaluation , Estimation , Thumb , Real-time systems , Sensor systems , Hardware , Blood pressure , Humans , Elbow , Photoplethysmography , Thumb , Pulse Wave Analysis , Software
Valerio, A., Hajzeraj, A., Talebi, O.V., Belcastro, M., Tedesco, S., Demarchi, D. and O’Flynn, B. (2023) ‘Development of a PPG-based hardware and software system deployable on elbow and thumb for real-time estimation of pulse transit time’, in 2023 45th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC). Sydney, Australia, 24-27 July. Available at:
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