Loughborough University
420725.pdf (11.82 MB)

Non-invasive vascular assessment using photoplethysmography

Download (11.82 MB)
posted on 2011-01-17, 09:34 authored by Vincent P. Crabtree
Photoplethysmography (PPG) has become widely accepted as a valuable clinical tool for performing non-invasive biomedical monitoring. The dominant clinical application of PPG has been pulse oximetry, which uses spectral analysis of the peripheral blood supply to establish haemoglobin saturation. PPG has also found success in screening for venous dysfunction, though to a limited degree. Arterial Disease (AD) is a condition where blood flow in the arteries of the body is reduced,a condition known as ischaernia. Ischaernia can result in pain in the affected areas, such as chest pain for an ischearnic heart, but does not always produce symptoms. The most common form of AD is arteriosclerosis, which affects around 5% of the population over 50 years old. Arteriosclerosis, more commonly known as 'hardening of the arteries' is a condition that results in a gradual thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity in the walls of the arteries, reducing overall blood flow. This thesis investigates the possibility of employing PPG to perform vascular assessment, specifically arterial assessment, in two ways. PPG based perfusion monitoring may allow identification of ischaernia in the periphery. To further investigate this premise, prospective experimental trials are performed, firstly to assess the viability of PPG based perfusion monitoring and culminating in the development of a more objective method for determining ABPI using PPG based vascular assessment. A complex interaction between the heart and the connective vasculature, detected at the measuring site, generates the PPG signal. The haemodynamic properties of the vasculature will affect the shape of the PPG waveform, characterising the PPG signal with the properties of the intermediary vasculature. This thesis investigates the feasibility of deriving quantitative vascular parameters from the PPG signal. A quantitative approach allows direct identification of pathology, simplifying vascular assessment. Both forward and inverse models are developed in order to investigate this topic. Application of the models in prospective experimental trials with both normal subjects and subjects suffering PVD have shown encouraging results. It is concluded that the PPG signal contains information on the connective vasculature of the subject. PPG may be used to perform vascular assessment using either perfusion based techniques, where the magnitude of the PPG signal is of interest, or by directly assessing the connective vasculature using PPG, where the shape of the PPG signal is of interest. it is argued that PPG perfusion based techniques for performing the ABPI diagnosis protocol can offer greater sensitivity to the onset of PAD, compared to more conventional methods. It is speculated that the PPG based ABPI diagnosis protocol could provide enhanced PAD diagnosis, detecting the onset of the disease and allowing a treatmenpt lan to be formed soonert han was possible previously. The determination of quantitative vascular parameters using PPG shape could allow direct vascular diagnosis, reducing subjectivity due to interpretation. The prospective trials investigating PPG shape analysis concentrated on PVD diagnosis, but it is speculated that quantitative PPG shaped based vascular assessment could be a powerful tool in the diagnosis of many vascular based pathological conditions.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Vincent Peter Crabtree

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en

Usage metrics

    Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering Theses


    Ref. manager