A technique based on laser Doppler flowmetry and photoplethysmography for simultaneously monitoring blood flow at different tissue depths
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The aim of this study was to validate a non-invasive optical probe for simultaneous blood flow measurement at different vascular depths combining three photoplethysmography (PPG) channels and laser Doppler flowmeter (LDF). Wavelengths of the PPG were near-infrared 810 nm with source-to-detector separation of 10 and 25 mm, and green 560 nm with source-to-detector separation of 4 mm. The probe is intended for clinical studies of pressure ulcer aetiology. The probe was placed over the trapezius muscle, and depths from the skin to the trapezius muscle were measured using ultrasound and varied between 3.8 and 23 mm in the 11 subjects included. A provocation procedure inducing a local enhancement of blood flow in the trapezius muscle was used. Blood flows at rest and post-exercise were compared. It can be concluded that this probe is useful as a tool for discriminating between blood flows at different vascular tissue depths. The vascular depths reached for the different channels in this study were at least 23 mm for the near-infrared PPG channel (source-to-detector separation 25 mm), 10–15 mm for the near-infrared PPG channel (separation 10 mm), and shallower than 4 mm for both the green PPG channel (separation 4 mm) and LDF.