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Features of the Pulse Waveform

The arterial pulse waveform is a contour wave generated by the heart when it contracts, and it travels along the arterial walls of the arterial tree. Generally, there are 2 main components of this wave: forward moving wave and a reflected wave. The forward wave is generated when the heart (ventricles) contracts during systole. This wave travels down the large aorta from the heart and gets reflected at the bifurcation or the “cross-road” of the aorta into 2 iliac vessels. In a normal healthy person, the reflected wave usually returns in the diastolic phase, after the closure of the aorta valves. The returned wave give a notch and it also helps in the perfusion of the heart through the coronary vessels as it pushes the blood through the coronaries. Therefore the velocity at which the reflected returns becomes very important: the stiffer the arteries are, the faster it returns. This may then enter into the systolic phase and augment final blood pressure reading. Diagram shown a typical healthy arterial pulse waveform.


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