Objectives: Pulse pressure is not constant throughout the arterial tree. Use of pulse pressure at one arterial site as surrogate for pulse pressure at another arterial site may be erroneous. The present study compares three non-invasive techniques to measure local pulse pressure: (i) internally calibrated readings from applanation tonometry, (ii) alternative calibration of pressure waves obtained with applanation tonometry and (iii) alternative calibration of arterial distension waves obtained with echo-tracking. Alternative calibration assumes mean and diastolic blood pressure constant throughout the large artery tree.
Design and methods: Study 1 used invasive measurements in the ascending aorta as a reference method and internally calibrated tonometer readings and alternatively calibrated pressure waves at the common carotid artery as test methods. Study 2 used alternatively calibrated pressure waves as a reference method and alternatively calibrated distension waves and internally calibrated applanation tonometer readings as test methods.
Results: In study 1, pulse pressure from internally calibrated tonometer readings was 10.2+/-14.3 mmHg lower and pulse pressure from alternatively calibrated pressure waves was 1.8+/-5.2 mmHg higher than invasive pulse pressure. Pulse pressure from calibrated distension waves was 3.4+/-6.9 mmHg lower than pulse pressure from alternatively calibrated pressure waves. According to British Hypertension Society criteria, pulse pressure from the internally calibrated tonometer achieved grade D and pulse pressure from alternatively calibrated pressure waves achieved grade A. Pulse pressure from calibrated distension waves achieved grade B when alternatively calibrated pressure waves were used as a reference method.
Conclusions: Pulse pressure obtained from alternatively calibrated tonometer-derived pressure waves and echo-tracking-derived distension waves demonstrates good accuracy. Accuracy of pulse pressure from internally calibrated applanation tonometer readings at the carotid artery is poor.