European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 309–315 | Cite as

Continuous blood pressure measurement by using the pulse transit time: comparison to a cuff-based method

  • Heiko Gesche
  • Detlef Grosskurth
  • Gert Küchler
  • Andreas PatzakEmail author
Original Article


Pulse transit time (PTT) and pulse wave velocity (PWV), respectively, were shown to have a correlation with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and have been reported to be suitable for indirect BP measurements. The aim of this study was to create a function between SBP and PWV, and to test its reliability for the determination of absolute SBP using a non-linear algorithm and a one-point calibration. 63 volunteers performed exercise to induce rises in BP. Arterial PTT was measured between the R-spike of the ECG and the plethysmographic curve of finger pulse-oximetry. The reference BP was measured using a cuff-based sphygmomanometric aneroid device. Data from 13 of the 63 volunteers served for the detection of the PWV–BP relationship. The created non-linear function was used to calculate BP values after individual correction for the BP offset in a group of 50 volunteers. Individual correlation coefficients for SBP measured by PTT (SBPPTT) and by cuff (SBPCUFF) varied between r = 0.69 and r = 0.99. Taking all data together, we found r = 0.83 (276 measurements in 50 volunteers). In the Bland–Altman plot, the limits of agreement were \( {\text{mean}}_{{{\text{SBP}}_{\text{PTT}} , {\text{SBP}}_{\text{CUFF}} }} \)± 19.8 mmHg. In conclusion, comparing SBP values using the PTT-based method and those measured by cuff resulted in a significant correlation. However, the Bland–Altman plot shows relevant differences between both methods, which are partly due to greater variability of the SBPPTT measurement during intensified exercise. Results suggest that PTT can be used for measuring absolute SBP when performing an individual correction for the offset of the BP–PWV relation.


Blood pressure Pulse transit time Exercise 



The authors thank Prof. P. Martus for his support in statistical analysis.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest for the authors Heiko Gesche, Detlef Grosskurth, and Andreas Patzak. Gert Küchler holds the patent cited in the manuscript and is owner of the Somnomedics GmbH. There was no financial support from any company.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Gesche
    • 1
  • Detlef Grosskurth
    • 2
  • Gert Küchler
    • 3
  • Andreas Patzak
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Vegetative PhysiologyCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Clinic for Rehabilitation MettnauRadolfzellGermany
  3. 3.SOMNOmedics GmbHRandersackerGermany

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