Multi-site Pulse Transit Times, Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure, and Isovolumic Contraction Time at Rest and Under Stressors

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This study investigates the beat-to-beat relationships among Pulse Transit Times (PTTs) and Pulse Arrival Times (PATs) concomitantly measured from the heart to finger, ear and forehead vascular districts, and their correlations with continuous finger blood pressure. These aspects were explored in 22 young volunteers at rest and during cold pressure test (CPT, thermal stress), handgrip (HG, isometric exercise) and cyclo-ergometer pedalling (CYC, dynamic exercise). The starting point of the PTT measures was the opening of the aortic valve detected by the seismocardiogram. Results indicate that PTTs measured at the ear, forehead and finger districts are uncorrelated each other at rest, and during CPT and HG. The stressors produced district-dependent changes in the PTT variability. Only the dynamic exercise was able to induce significant changes with respect to rest in the PTTs mean values (-40%, -36% and -17%, respectively for PTTear, PTTfore, PTTfinger,), and synchronize their modulations. Similar trends were observed in the PATs. The isovolumic contraction time decreased during the stressors application with a minimum at CYC (-25%) reflecting an augmented heart contractility. The increase in blood pressure (BP) at CPT was greater than that at CYC (137 vs. 128 mmHg), but the correlations between beat-to-beat transit times and BP were maximal at CYC (PAT showed a higher correlation than PTT; correlations were greater for systolic than for diastolic BP). This suggests that pulse transit times do not always depend directly on the beat-to-beat BP values but, under specific conditions, on other factors and mechanisms that concomitantly also influence BP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2021


  • Arteries
  • Ear
  • Electrical resistance measurement
  • Heart contractility
  • local hemodynamics
  • Pressure measurement
  • Pulse Arrival Time
  • Pulse measurements
  • Pulse Wave Velocity
  • Seismic measurements
  • Seismocardiography
  • Time measurement
  • Total peripheral resistance
  • Vascular control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Health Information Management


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