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Keywords:

  • Oscillometric oscillations;
  • Pulsatile sensations;
  • Psychophysical scaling;
  • Cross-modality matching;
  • Blood pressure biofeedback;
  • Mean arterial pressure

ABSTRACT

A psychophysical scaling procedure was employed to investigate subjects' ability to discriminate pulsatile arterial sensations produced by applying an occluding cuff about the upper arm. Subjects (n = 8) were exposed to 5 presentations of 7 occluding cuff pressure levels ranging from above systolic to below diastolic arterial pressure. During each cuff inflation, subjects were instructed to attend to the pulsating sensations in the arm. When the cuff deflated, subjects adjusted the volume ofa tone to a level that matched their subjective estimate of pulsation intensity. Consistent with previous reports, subjects perceived maximum intensity pulsations when cuff pressure approximated calculated mean arterial pressure (MAP), 1/3 (systolic -diastolic) + diastolic. The perceived intensity ofthe sensations decreased monotonically as cuff pressure was varied in either the systolic or diastolic direction producing a highly symmetrical function on both sides of MAP.

The gradient of arterial pulsations produced by the occluding cuff pressure, the accuracy of the judgments ofthe intensity of perceived pulsations, and the possibility that these pulsations may he more physiologically related to the hemodynamics of blood flow, suggest that these sensations may be employed as a more effective discriminative stimulus in a blood pressure biofeedback procedure.