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We previously reported that measurements of muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) and the compensatory reserve index (CRI) provided earlier indication of reduced central blood volume than standard vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, arterial oxygen saturation). In the present study, we hypothesized that the CRI would provide greater sensitivity and specificity to detect progressive decrease in central circulating blood volume compared with SmO2. Continuous noninvasive measures of CRI (calculated from feature changes in the photoplethysmographic arterial waveforms) were collected from 55 healthy volunteer subjects before and during stepwise lower body negative pressure (LBNP) to the onset of hemodynamic decompensation. Near infrared spectroscopy was used on the forearm to obtain deep SmO2, hydrogen ion concentration ([H+]), and hemoglobin volume (HbT; decreases reflect vasoconstriction). CRI decreased by 97% in a linear fashion across progressive blood volume loss, with no clinically significant alterations in vital signs. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) for the CRI was 0.91, with a sensitivity of 0.87 and specificity of 0.80, when predicting decompensation at progressive levels of LBNP. In comparison, SmO2, [H+], and HbT had significantly lower ROC AUC, sensitivity and specificity values for detecting the same outcome. Consistent with our hypothesis, CRI detected central hypovolemia with significantly greater specificity than measures of tissue metabolism. Single measurement of CRI may enable more accurate triage, while CRI monitoring may allow for earlier detection of casualty deterioration.