Worldwide, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death. Therefore, there is a strong and urgent need for an easy and quick prognostic indicator of this disease to support early diagnosis.
The gold standard for determining arterial stiffness is measuring the pulse wave velocity (PWV), which is the speed of the pressure pulse traveling through the moving blood. The goal of this Ph.D. study was to develop and validate a non-invasive, photoplethysmography (PPG)-based device for peripheral measurement of the PWV on the finger.
To this aim a novel sensor, called “Multi Photodiode Array” (‘MPA’), was designed for peripheral, non-invasive PWV measurements. Next, the MPA was shown to deliver reliable and accurate PWV measurements with a deviation below 3% within clinically relevant ranges.
During the course of the research it was observed that the MPA positioning on the finger could strongly affect the quality of the PWV measurements. Therefore, an explorative study was conducted to find the optimal use condition of the MPA. The final clinical study showed that the MPA could be placed easily, rapidly, and consistently, irrespective of the volunteer whose PWV was measured, and delivered reliable and repeatable results.
Overall, the results in this thesis suggest that the novel PPG-based MPA allows accurate and reliable PWV measurements within clinically relevant ranges. In the future, the MPA may substantially simplify PWV measurements and enable long-term monitoring of vascular health, which will contribute to improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of CVDs

Additional Metadata
Keywords Pulse wave velocity, Non-invasive, Medical device, Cardiovascular diseases, Photoplethysmography
Promotor R.J. Stolker (Robert)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISBN 978-94-6375-331-9
Persistent URL
van Velzen, M.H.N. (2019, May 7). The Speed of Waves : Measuring the velocity of pressure pulse waves traveling through peripheral blood vessels. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from