Patterns of digital volume pulse waveform and pulse transit time in young and older individuals

  • R M Badi
  • E E Abdalla


Introduction: Arterial wall changes underlie many disorders of aging and the complications of diseases like hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Analyzing the pulse wave is an easy, noninvasive method used to assess vessel wall stiffness and pulse changes. In this study the digital volume pulse wave and the pulse transit time of the thumb and big toe were analyzed in young and older subjects some of whom were hypertensive. We aimed to study the components and patterns of the pulse waveform and the pulse transit time and how they might change. Material and Methods: Seventy volunteers were drawn from the students and employees of the University of Khartoum. A Powerlab system, ECG leads and a Pulse Mechanotranducer were used. SPSS programme was used for analysis. Results:Young subjects had two main patterns of digital volume pulse waveform in the thumb and two patterns in big toe. The older subjects showed significant decrease in prominence of the diastolic pulse flow waves in both thumb and toe. There was a significant decrease in pulse transit time with advancing age. Discussion: The prominence of systolic deflections combined with decrease in diastolic deflections in the digital waveform in older subjects indicated shift in blood flow towards systole. Changes of pulse waveforms are more prominent in the feet than in the hands. The decreased pulse transit time could explain some, but not all of the observed changes especially in the feet. Digital volume waveform analysis can be developed into a bedside test .

Keywords: arterial stiffness, digital volume pulse, pulse transit time, hypertension

Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 2 (4) 2007: pp. 231-236

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eISSN: 1858-5051