Effect of increasing heart rate on finger photoplethysmography fitness index (PPGF) in subjects with implanted cardiac pacemakers

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 28;13(11):e0207301. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207301. eCollection 2018.


Finger photoplethysmography (PPG) is a noninvasive method that measures blood volume changes in the finger. The PPG fitness index (PPGF) has been proposed as an index of vascular risk and vascular aging. The objectives of the study were to determine the effects of heart rate (HR) on the PPGF and to determine whether PPGF is influenced by blood pressure (BP) changes. Twenty subjects (78±8 years, 3 female) with permanent cardiac pacemakers or cardioverter defibrillators were prospectively recruited. HR was changed by pacing, in a random order from 60 to 100 bpm and in 10 bpm increments. At each paced HR, the PPGF was derived from a finger photoplethysmogram. Cardiac output (CO), stroke volume (SV) and total peripheral resistance (TPR) were derived from the finger arterial pressure waveform. Brachial blood pressure (BP) was measured by the oscillometric method. This study found that as HR was increased from 60 to 100 bpm, brachial diastolic BP, brachial mean BP and CO were significantly increased (p<0.01), whilst the PPGF and SV were significantly decreased (p<0.001). The effects of HR on the PPGF were influenced by BP, with a decreasing HR effect on the PPGF that resulted from a higher BP. In conclusion, HR was a significant confounder for PPGF and it must be taken into account in analyses of PPGF, when there are large changes or differences in the HR. The magnitude of this effect was BP dependent.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Fingers*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Photoplethysmography*
  • Stroke Volume*
  • Vascular Resistance*

Grant support

This study was supported by the Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia.