Utility of the photoplethysmogram in circulatory monitoring.

Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Anesthesiology (Impact Factor: 6.17). 06/2008; 108(5):950-8. DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31816c89e1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The photoplethysmogram is a noninvasive circulatory signal related to the pulsatile volume of blood in tissue and is displayed by many pulse oximeters and bedside monitors, along with the computed arterial oxygen saturation. The photoplethysmogram is similar in appearance to an arterial blood pressure waveform. Because the former is noninvasive and nearly ubiquitous in hospitals whereas the latter requires invasive measurement, the extraction of circulatory information from the photoplethysmogram has been a popular subject of contemporary research. The photoplethysmogram is a function of the underlying circulation, but the relation is complicated by optical, biomechanical, and physiologic covariates that affect the appearance of the photoplethysmogram. Overall, the photoplethysmogram provides a wealth of circulatory information, but its complex etiology may be a limitation in some novel applications.

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