Effect of intracranial pressure on photoplethysmographic waveform in different cerebral perfusion territories: A computational study

Haipeng Liu, Fan Pan, Xinyue Lei, Jiyuan Hui, Ru Gong, Junfeng Feng, Dingchang Zheng

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Background: Intracranial photoplethysmography (PPG) signals can be measured from extracranial sites using wearable sensors and may enable long-term non-invasive monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP). However, it is still unknown if ICP changes can lead to waveform changes in intracranial PPG signals. Aim: To investigate the effect of ICP changes on the waveform of intracranial PPG signals of different cerebral perfusion territories. Methods: Based on lump-parameter Windkessel models, we developed a computational model consisting three interactive parts: cardiocerebral artery network, ICP model, and PPG model. We simulated ICP and PPG signals of three perfusion territories [anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries (ACA, MCA, and PCA), all left side] in three ages (20, 40, and 60 years) and four intracranial capacitance conditions (normal, 20% decrease, 50% decrease, and 75% decrease). We calculated following PPG waveform features: maximum, minimum, mean, amplitude, min-to-max time, pulsatility index (PI), resistive index (RI), and max-to-mean ratio (MMR). Results: The simulated mean ICPs in normal condition were in the normal range (8.87–11.35 mm Hg), with larger PPG fluctuations in older subject and ACA/PCA territories. When intracranial capacitance decreased, the mean ICP increased above normal threshold (>20 mm Hg), with significant decreases in maximum, minimum, and mean; a minor decrease in amplitude; and no consistent change in min-to-max time, PI, RI, or MMR (maximal relative difference less than 2%) for PPG signals of all perfusion territories. There were significant effects of age and territory on all waveform features except age on mean. Conclusion: ICP values could significantly change the value-relevant (maximum, minimum, and amplitude) waveform features of PPG signals measured from different cerebral perfusion territories, with negligible effect on shape-relevant features (min-to-max time, PI, RI, and MMR). Age and measurement site could also significantly influence intracranial PPG waveform.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1085871
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Early online date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


This study was supported by NSFC (82071358), Program of Shanghai Academic Research Leader (21XD1422400), Project of Shanghai Medical And Health Development Foundation (20224Z0012) and Key Research and Development Program of Sichuan (2022YFG0045).


  • intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • photoplethysmography (PPG)
  • windkessel effect
  • computational simulation
  • artery network
  • cerebral microcirculation


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