(A) Ballistocardiography (BCG) and foot photoplethysmography (PPG) waveforms were measured with a custom system similar to a weighing scale; ECG, finger PPG, and impedance cardiography (ICG) waveforms were measured with standard sensors; and a reference finger cuff BP waveform was measured with a volume-clamp device. (B) The waveforms were recorded during three baseline periods (R1, R2, R3) and three interventions (mental arithmetic (MA), cold pressor (CP), post-exercise (PE)) to increase BP but change the pre-ejection period (PEP) differently. (Credit: Scientific Reports)

A research team has demonstrated that they can effectively measure pulse transit time (PTT), a marker of cardiovascular health, using a specially modified weight scale more reliably than conventional pulse arrival time (PAT) measurements.

The team has spent the past several years exploring ways to mathematically model some of the human body’s cardiac functions to create algorithms and tools aimed at both improving current cardiovascular monitoring tools — like blood pressure cuffs — and creating unobtrusive ways to monitor patient vitals as well as health and disease.

Most existing cuff-less blood pressure monitoring studies have used PAT measurements since PTT was not as convenient to measure as PAT. But through the use of specially modified scales, the team has demonstrated a method that shows the efficacy of using PTT in conjunction with ballistocardiograph (BCG) measurements. Their work represents the first steps toward developing an easier to use, noninvasive scale that could more effectively measure cardiovascular health than traditional blood pressure cuffs.