Multimodal Monitoring of Cardiovascular Responses to Postural Changes

A. Mol, Andrea B. Maier, Richard J A van Wezel, Carel G M Meskers

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Background: In the poorly understood relationship between orthostatic hypotension and falls, next to blood pressure (BP), baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and cerebral autoregulation (CAR) may be key measures. The posture- and movement dependency of orthostatic hypotension requires continuous and unobtrusive monitoring. This may be possible using simultaneous photoplethysmography (PPG), electrocardiography (ECG), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) signal recordings, from which pulse wave velocity (PWV; potentially useful for BP estimation), BRS and CAR can be derived. The PPG, NIRS and PWV signal correlation with BP and BRS/CAR reliability and validity need to be addressed. Methods: In 34 healthy adults (mean age 25 years, inter quartile range 22–45; 10 female), wrist and finger PPG, ECG, bifrontal NIRS (oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin) and continuous BP were recorded during sit to stand and supine to stand movements. Sixteen participants performed slow and rapid supine to stand movements; eighteen other participants performed a 1-min squat movement. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) was defined as the inverse of the ECG R-peak to PPG pulse delay; PPG, NIRS and PWV signal correlation with BP as their Pearson correlations with mean arterial pressure (MAP) within 30 s after the postural changes; BRS as inter beat interval drop divided by systolic BP (SBP) drop during the postural changes; CAR as oxygenated hemoglobin drop divided by MAP drop. BRS and CAR were separately computed using measured and estimated (linear regression) BP. BRS/CAR reliability was defined by the intra class correlation between repeats of the same postural change; validity as the Pearson correlation between BRS/CAR values based on measured and estimated BP. Results: The highest correlation with MAP was found for finger PPG and oxygenated hemoglobin, ranging from 0.75–0.79 (sit to stand), 0.66–0.88 (supine to stand), and 0.82–0.94 (1-min squat). BRS and CAR reliability was highest during the different supine to stand movements, ranging from 0.17 – 0.49 (BRS) and 0.42-0.75 (CAR); validity was highest during rapid supine to stand movements, 0.54 and 0.79 respectively. Conclusion: PPG-ECG-NIRS recordings showed high correlation with BP and enabled computation of reliable and valid BRS and CAR estimates, suggesting their potential for continuous unobtrusive monitoring of orthostatic hypotension key measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in physiology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020


  • baroreceptor reflex
  • cerebral autoregulation
  • electrocardiography
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • orthostatic hypotension

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