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Wave speed is directly related to arterial distensibility and is widely used by clinicians to assess arterial stiffness. The PU-loop method for determining wave speed is based on the water hammer equation for flow in flexible tubes and artery using the method of characteristics. This technique determines wave speed using simultaneous measurements of pressure and velocity at a single point. The method shows that during the early part of systole, the relationship between pressure and velocity is generally linear, and the initial slope of the PU-loop is proportional to wave speed. In this work, we designed an in-vitro experiment to investigate the effect of proximity to a reflection site on the wave speed determined by the PU-loop through varying the distance between the measurement and reflection sites. Measurements were made in a flexible tube with a reflection site at the distal end formed by joining the tube to another tube with a different diameter and material properties. Six different flexible tubes were used to generate both positive and negative reflection coefficients of different magnitudes. We found that the wave speed determined by the PU-loop did not change when the measurement site was far from the reflection site but did change as the distance to the reflection site decreased. The calculated wave speed increased with positive reflections and decreased with negative reflections. The magnitude of the change in wave speed at a fixed distance from the reflection site increased with increasing the value of the reflection coefficient. © 2011 IEEE.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date



199 - 202