Modeling arterial pulse waves in healthy aging: a database for in silico evaluation of hemodynamics and pulse wave indexes

Image credit: Charlton PH et al. (CC BY 3.0)


The arterial pulse wave (PW) is a rich source of information on cardiovascular (CV) health. It is widely measured by both consumer and clinical devices. However, the physical determinants of the PW are not yet fully understood, and the development of PW analysis algorithms is limited by a lack of PW data sets containing reference CV measurements. Our aim was to create a database of PWs simulated by a computer to span a range of CV conditions, representative of a sample of healthy adults. The typical CV properties of 25?75 yr olds were identified through a literature review. These were used as inputs to a computational model to simulate PWs for subjects of each age decade. Pressure, flow velocity, luminal area, and photoplethysmographic PWs were simulated at common measurement sites, and PW indexes were extracted. The database, containing PWs from 4,374 virtual subjects, was verified by comparing the simulated PWs and derived indexes with corresponding in vivo data. Good agreement was observed, with well-reproduced age-related changes in hemodynamic parameters and PW morphology. The utility of the database was demonstrated through case studies providing novel hemodynamic insights, in silico assessment of PW algorithms, and pilot data to inform the design of clinical PW algorithm assessments. In conclusion, the publicly available PW database is a valuable resource for understanding CV determinants of PWs and for the development and preclinical assessment of PW analysis algorithms. It is particularly useful because the exact CV properties that generated each PW are known.

In American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology


Awarded the Best Early Career Researcher Award for a presentation on this work at the BioMedEng18 conference.

Peter Charlton
Peter Charlton
Research Fellow

Biomedical Engineer specialising in signal processing for wearables.