Pulse Wave Analysis

Heart pulsePulse wave analysis can be used as a screening method for cardio-vascular diseases and for other indications like heart insufficiency, dilated cardiomyopathy, therapy resistant hypertension, risk stratification and monitoring of anti-hypertensive conditions.

Standard blood pressure measurement has been the norm in monitoring cardiovascular diseases to date.

However blood pressure alone does not have any significant relevance regarding the hemodynamics and the flexibility of the vessels, neither does it give any information regarding the fluid mechanics of the blood.

Only a pulse wave analysis can give precise indications whether arteries are still flexible enough or whether there is atherosclerosis offering a valid evaluation of the artery’s flexibility.

This greatly enhances a clinic’s decision-making ability towards accurate prognostics and therapy.

‘Since the information which the pulse affords is of so great importance, and so often consulted, surely it must be to our advantage to appreciate fully all it tells us, and to draw from it every detail that it is capable of imparting’ F.A. Mahomed 1872

Pulse wave analysis is a technique recognized long ago, since doctors in China measured it as part of traditional medicine, using the three fingers on the pulse method, and a long road of experience brought it into scientific knowledge.

The pulse wave, depending on the method, can be felt and registered in areas where arterial pulsation is easily accessible.

Measurement can be carried out most easily similarly to blood pressure measurement with tonometry and piezo-electric technologies on the carotid, radial and femoral arteries, and the newest, oscillometric methods on the upper arm.

The direct wave traveling toward the heart, the reflective wave and the systolic and diastolic periods can be determined from the pulse wave contour, and from this we can draw conclusions regarding the interaction of the heart and the arterial system, which until now could only be recognized using invasive arterial catheterization. Today, with the help of pulse wave analysis, we can better familiarize ourselves with the physiological and pathological behavior of the arterial wall, and determine a more exact diagnosis and therapy.

The conventional, traditional method based on high blood pressure in quite a number of cases overestimates or underestimates cardiovascular risk.

Furthermore it has become clear that the different pharmaceutical groups do not affect pulse pressure amplification in the same way; for example, vasodilator agent’s increase compared with the beta-blockers.

In contrast to brachial blood pressure, pulse wave amplification in and of itself predicts CV mortality, and shows a strong correlation with pulse pressure measured in the carotid as well.