A simplified measurement of pulse wave velocity is not inferior to standard measurement in young adults and children

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Abstract

The standard measurement of pulse wave velocity (PWV) is restricted by the need for simultaneous tonometry measurements requiring two technicians and expensive equipment, limiting this technique to well-resourced settings. In this preliminary study, we compared a simplified method of pulse wave detection from the finger and toe to pulse wave detection from the carotid and radial arteries using applanation tonometry in children and young adults. We hypothesized that the simplified method of PWV measurement would strongly correlate with the standard measurement in different age groups and oxygen conditions. Participants included (a) boys and girls aged 8–12 years and (b) men and women aged 18–40 years. Participants rested supine while carotid and radial artery pulse waves were measured using applanation tonometry and finger and toe pulse waves were simultaneously collected using a Finometer Midi and a piezo-electric pulse transducer, respectively. These measurements were repeated under hypoxic conditions. Finger-toe PWV measurements were strongly correlated to carotid-radial PWV in adults (R2=0.58; P=0.011), but not in children (R2=0.056; P=0.610). Finger-toe PWV was sensitive enough to show increases in PWV with age (P<0.0001) and hypoxia in children (P<0.0001) and adults (P=0.003). These results indicate that the simplified measurement of finger-toe PWV strongly correlates with the standard measurement of carotid-radial PWV in adults, but not in children. However, finger-toe PWV can be used in either population to determine changes with hypoxia.

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