BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT (J COCKCROFT, SECTION EDITOR)
Pulse Waveform Analysis: Is It Ready for Prime Time?
Published online: 11 August 2017
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017
Purpose of Review Arterial pulse waveform analysis has a
long tradition but has not pervaded medical routine yet. This
review aims to answer the question whether the methodology
is ready for prime time use. The current methodological con-
sensus is assessed, existing technologies for waveform mea-
surement and pulse wave analysis are discussed, and further
needs for a widespread use are proposed.
Recent Findings A consensus document on the understanding
and analysis of the pulse waveform was published recently.
Although still some discrepancies remain, the analysis using
both pressure and flow waves is favoured. However, devices
which enable pulse wave measurement are limited, and the
comparability between devices is not sufficiently given.
Summary Pulse waveform analysis has the potential for prime
time. It is currently on a way towards broader use, but still
needs to overcome challenges before settling its role in med-
Keywords Pulse wave reflection
Wave separation analysis
Pulse wave intensity
Pulse waveform analysis has a long tradition dating back to
ancient times, and the pulsatility of arterial pressure and flow
has inspired health professionals and scientists since then .
Progress was made in the understanding of the human phys-
iology as well as in the formulation of mathematical concepts
to describe fluid dynamics and wave transmission, linking
these two together, developments in engineering lead to better
measurement techniques of arterial pressure and flow. Most
progress could be achieved when these disciplines joined
forces, as can be seen in the example of a short but very
fruitful collaboration of Donald McDonald and John
Over the years, different basic concepts like pulse wave
reflection and the arterial Windkessel were introduced, lead-
ing subsequently to methods for pulse wave analysis. Finally,
different parameters trying to capture changes in pulse wave
morphology and relating them to physiological changes were
proposed and applied in a variety of clinical studies .
Differences between concepts, methods and parameters have
been and still are lively discussed in the scientific communi-
ties [3, 4]. Nevertheless, up to now, all these approaches, and
thus pulse waveform analysis as a whole, are still in a niche of
scientific and especially clinical routine. Therefore, the aim of
this review article is to give a brief overview about the differ-
ent waveform analysis methods, to describe the current con-
sensus in the scientific field about them, and to judge them for
their readiness for prime time use.
Different Methods in Pulse Waveform Analysis
In this chapter, we briefly introduce several methods for pulse
wave analysis. This overview does not claim to be complete but
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Blood Pressure
Monitoring and Management
* Siegfried Wassertheurer
Center for Health & Bioresources, AIT Austrian Institute of
Technology, Donau-City-Strasse 1, 1220 Vienna, Austria
Curr Hypertens Rep (2017) 19: 73