This article discusses the origin of PPG signals. Two plausible hypotheses are analyzed: the volumetric hypothesis and a model wherein the PPG is driven by the RBC aggregation process. To verify the model predictions, the PPG signals at the fingertip were measured. External pressure was applied to the fingertip, presumably reducing the blood flow. The results expressed in terms of gamma, used in pulse-oximetry, agree with the aggregation model. In addition, the oscillometric signal and the PPG signal amplitude were simultaneously measured in the fingertip. All of the experimental results favor the proposed aggregation mechanism as responsible the PPG signal.
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