Scientific reports

Weighing Scale-Based Pulse Transit Time is a Superior Marker of Blood Pressure than Conventional Pulse Arrival Time.

PMID 27976741


Pulse transit time (PTT) is being widely pursued for cuff-less blood pressure (BP) monitoring. Most efforts have employed the time delay between ECG and finger photoplethysmography (PPG) waveforms as a convenient surrogate of PTT. However, these conventional pulse arrival time (PAT) measurements include the pre-ejection period (PEP) and the time delay through small, muscular arteries and may thus be an unreliable marker of BP. We assessed a bathroom weighing scale-like system for convenient measurement of ballistocardiography and foot PPG waveforms - and thus PTT through larger, more elastic arteries - in terms of its ability to improve tracking of BP in individual subjects. We measured "scale PTT", conventional PAT, and cuff BP in humans during interventions that increased BP but changed PEP and smooth muscle contraction differently. Scale PTT tracked the diastolic BP changes well, with correlation coefficient of -0.80 ± 0.02 (mean ± SE) and root-mean-squared-error of 7.6 ± 0.5 mmHg after a best-case calibration. Conventional PAT was significantly inferior in tracking these changes, with correlation coefficient of -0.60 ± 0.04 and root-mean-squared-error of 14.6 ± 1.5 mmHg (p < 0.05). Scale PTT also tracked the systolic BP changes better than conventional PAT but not to an acceptable level. With further development, scale PTT may permit reliable, convenient measurement of BP.