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117 – Pulse Transit Time and Velocity Calculation

Pulse Transit Time (PTT) is the time it takes the pulse pressure waveform to propagate through a length of the arterial tree. The pulse pressure waveform results from the ejection of blood from the left ventricle and moves with a velocity much greater than the forward movement of the blood itself.

With increased vessel wall stiffness (decreased compliance), DELTA V decreases and pulse wave velocity increases. With increased blood pressure, the arterial walls are more strongly stretched and pulse wave velocity increases. Accordingly, for a fixed vessel distance, as the pulse transit time increases the blood pressure decreases.

In this application note, pulse transit time will be measured between the R-wave and the peak of the pressure wave at the finger, as measured by the pulse plethysmograph.

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