A Comparison of Wearable Tonometry, Photoplethysmography, and Electrocardiography for Cuffless Measurement of Blood Pressure in an Ambulatory Setting

IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics | , Vol 26(7): pp. 2864-2875

Objective: While non-invasive, cuffless blood pressure (BP) measurement has demonstrated relevancy in controlled environments, ambulatory measurement is important for hypertension diagnosis and control. We present both in-lab and ambulatory BP estimation results from a diverse cohort of participants.

Methods: Participants (N=1125, aged 21-85, 49.2% female, multiple hypertensive categories) had BP measured in-lab over a 24-hour period with a subset also receiving ambulatory measurements. Radial tonometry, photoplethysmography (PPG), electrocardiography (ECG), and accelerometry signals were collected simultaneously with auscultatory or oscillometric references for systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Predictive models to estimate BP using a variety of sensor-based feature groups were evaluated against challenging baselines.

Results: Despite limited availability, tonometry-derived features showed superior performance compared to other feature groups and baselines, yielding prediction errors of 0.32±9.8 mmHg SBP and 0.54±7.7 mmHg DBP in-lab, and 0.86±8.7 mmHg SBP and 0.75±5.9 mmHg DBP for 24-hour averages. SBP error standard deviation (SD) was reduced in normotensive (in-lab: 8.1 mmHg, 24-hr: 7.2 mmHg) and younger (in-lab: 7.8 mmHg, 24-hr: 6.7 mmHg) subpopulations. SBP SD was further reduced 15–20% when constrained to the calibration posture alone.

Conclusion: Performance for normotensive and younger participants was superior to the general population across all feature groups. Reference type, posture relative to calibration, and controlled vs. ambulatory setting all impacted BP errors. Significance: Results highlight the need for demographically diverse populations and challenging evaluation settings for BP estimation studies. We present the first public dataset of ambulatory tonometry and cuffless BP over a 24-hour period to aid in future cardiovascular research.