Semi-quantitative photoplethysmography in the diagnosis of lower extremity venous insufficiency

R. F. Kempczinski, Y. Berlatzky, W. H. Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A new standardization device has permitted calibration of the Photo-pulse Adaptor, thus, making venous photoplethysmography (PPG) a more accurate, semiquantitative technique. Using this device, we studied 10 normal volunteers and 151 extremities in 69 symptomatic patients. We also developed a formula for calculating the slope of the venous recovery curve which took into consideration the degree of venous empyting as well as the duration of venous recovery. The PPG was 'abnormal' if there was no measurable venous emptying despite effective calf contraction or if the calculated venous recovery rate (VRR) exceeded 2.0 mm/sec. VRR clearly separated normal extremities (1.28 mm/sec) from those in which venous reflux was present (3.34 mm/sec). If we had relied on measurement of venous recovery time (VRT) alone, 30% of hour normal volunteers and 52% of our symptomatic patients would have been misdiagnosed. We feel that these modifications have made PPG a more accurate technique less subject to the vagaries of arterial inflow, and thereby more valuable to the vascular surgeon in elucidating venous pathophysiology and following the results of his therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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