On the analysis of fingertip photoplethysmogram signals

Curr Cardiol Rev. 2012 Feb;8(1):14-25. doi: 10.2174/157340312801215782.


Photoplethysmography (PPG) is used to estimate the skin blood flow using infrared light. Researchers from different domains of science have become increasingly interested in PPG because of its advantages as non-invasive, inexpensive, and convenient diagnostic tool. Traditionally, it measures the oxygen saturation, blood pressure, cardiac output, and for assessing autonomic functions. Moreover, PPG is a promising technique for early screening of various atherosclerotic pathologies and could be helpful for regular GP-assessment but a full understanding of the diagnostic value of the different features is still lacking. Recent studies emphasise the potential information embedded in the PPG waveform signal and it deserves further attention for its possible applications beyond pulse oximetry and heart-rate calculation. Therefore, this overview discusses different types of artifact added to PPG signal, characteristic features of PPG waveform, and existing indexes to evaluate for diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Fingers / blood supply
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Photoplethysmography / instrumentation
  • Photoplethysmography / methods*
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / instrumentation
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / methods*
  • Skin / blood supply