Multimodal Assessment of the Pulse Rate Variability Analysis Module of a Photoplethysmography-Based Telemedicine System

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Aug 18;21(16):5544. doi: 10.3390/s21165544.


Alterations of heart rate variability (HRV) are associated with various (patho)physiological conditions; therefore, HRV analysis has the potential to become a useful diagnostic module of wearable/telemedical devices to support remote cardiovascular/autonomic monitoring. Continuous pulse recordings obtained by photoplethysmography (PPG) can yield pulse rate variability (PRV) indices similar to HRV parameters; however, it is debated whether PRV/HRV parameters are interchangeable. In this study, we assessed the PRV analysis module of a digital arterial PPG-based telemedical system (SCN4ALL). We used Bland-Altman analysis to validate the SCN4ALL PRV algorithm to Kubios Premium software and to determine the agreements between PRV/HRV results calculated from 2-min long PPG and ECG captures recorded simultaneously in healthy individuals (n = 33) at rest and during the cold pressor test, and in diabetic patients (n = 12) at rest. We found an ideal agreement between SCN4ALL and Kubios outputs (bias < 2%). PRV and HRV parameters showed good agreements for interbeat intervals, SDNN, and RMSSD time-domain variables, for total spectral and low-frequency power (LF) frequency-domain variables, and for non-linear parameters in healthy subjects at rest and during cold pressor challenge. In diabetics, good agreements were observed for SDNN, LF, and SD2; and moderate agreement was observed for total power. In conclusion, the SCN4ALL PRV analysis module is a good alternative for HRV analysis for numerous conventional HRV parameters.

Keywords: photoplethysmography; pulse rate variability; pulse wave analysis; telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Photoplethysmography*
  • Telemedicine*