The study of wave propagation at different points in the arterial circulation may provide useful information regarding ventriculoarterial interactions. We describe a number of hemodynamic parameters in the carotid, brachial, and radial arteries of normal subjects by using noninvasive techniques and wave-intensity analysis (WIA). Twenty-one normal adult subjects (14 men and 7 women, mean age 44 ± 6 yr) underwent applanation tonometry and pulsed-wave Doppler studies of the right common carotid, brachial, and radial arteries. After ensemble averaging of the pressure and flow-velocity data, local hydraulic work was determined and a pressure-flow velocity loop was used to determine local wave speed. WIA was then applied to determine the magnitude, timings, and energies of individual waves. At all sites, forward-traveling (S) and backward-traveling (R) compression waves were observed in early systole. In mid- and late systole, forward-traveling expansion waves (X and D) were also seen. Wave speed was significantly higher in the brachial (6.97 ± 0.58 m/s) and radial (6.78 ± 0.62 m/s) arteries compared with the carotid artery (5.40 ± 0.34 m/s; P < 0.05). S-wave energy was greatest in the brachial artery (993.5 ± 87.8 mJ/m2), but R-wave energy was greatest in the radial artery (176.9 ± 19.9 mJ/m2). X-wave energy was significantly higher in the brachial and radial arteries (176.4 ± 32.7 and 163.2 ± 30.5 mJ/m2, respectively) compared with the carotid artery (41.0 ± 9.4 mJ/m2; P < 0.001). WIA illustrates important differences in wave patterns between peripheral arteries and may provide a method for understanding ventriculo-arterial interactions in the time domain.
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