Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 88–96 | Cite as

Theory of the oscillometric maximum and the systolic and diastolic detection ratios

  • G. Drzewiecki
  • R. Hood
  • H. Apple


It is proposed that the maximum in cuff pressure oscillations during oscillometry is due to the buckling of the brachial artery under a cuff. This theory is investigated by means of a mathematical model of oscillometry that includes the mechanics of the occlusive arm cuff, the arterial pressure pulse waveform, and the mechanics of the brachial artery. A numerical solution is provided for the oscillations in cuff pressure for one cycle of cuff inflation and deflation. The buckling pressure is determined from actual arterial data and the von Mises buckling criteria. The buckling of an artery under a cuff occurs near — 2 to 0 mm Hg transmural pressure. This effect corresponds with a maximum arterial compliance and maximum cuff pressure oscillations when cuff pressure is nearly equal to mean arterial pressure (MAP), in support of the suggested theory. The model was also found to demonstrate the basic characteristics of experimental oscillometry, such as an increasing and decreasing amplitude in oscillations as cuff pressure decreases, the oscillations that occur when cuff pressure is above systolic pressure, maximum oscillation amplitudes in the range of 1 to 4 mm Hg, and an oscillatory maximum at cuff pressure equal to MAP. These findings support the case that the model is representative of oscillometry. Finally, the model predicted values for the systolic and diastolic detection ratios of 0.593 and 0.717, respectively, similar to those found empirically. These ratios alter with blood pressure, but the tightness of the cuff wrap did not change their value.


Oscillometry Blood pressure measurement Arterial mechanics Occlusive cuff Mathematical modeling 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Drzewiecki
    • 1
  • R. Hood
    • 2
  • H. Apple
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering, RutgersThe State University of New JerseyPiscataway
  2. 2.Critikon, Inc.Tampa

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