Analysis of week-to-week variability in skin blood flow measurements using wavelet transforms

Yih Kuen Jan, David M. Brienza, Mary Jo Geyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of skin blood flow responses is confounded by temporal variability in blood flow measurements. Spectral analysis has been shown useful in isolating the effects of distinct control mechanisms on various stimuli in the microcirculatory system. However, the sensitivity of spectral analysis to temporal blood blow variability has not been reported. This study was designed to assess week-to-week variability in blood flow measurements using wavelet-based spectrum analysis. Ten healthy, young subjects (mean age ± SD, 30.0 ± 3.1 years) were recruited into the study. Incremental heating (35-45°C, 1° step min-1) was applied on the skin over the sacrum once per week for three consecutive weeks. Wavelet analysis was used to decompose the laser Doppler blood flow signal into frequency bands determined to be associated with endothelial nitric oxide (0.008-0.02 Hz), neurogenic (0.02-0.05 Hz), myogenic (0.05-0.15 Hz), respiratory (0.15-0.4 Hz), and cardiac (0.4-2.0 Hz) control mechanisms. The results showed that coefficients of variation for the power in each frequency band at baseline are smaller than the coefficients of variation of blood flow at baseline or at maximal blood flow ratio (P<0.05). Myogenic and respiratory frequency bands showed the highest coefficients of variation among the five frequency bands. An increase in power in the endothelial nitric oxide frequency band and a decrease in power in the myogenic frequency band of the maximal blood flow response were reproduced in three consecutive weeks. Our study suggests that wavelet analysis is an effective method to overcome temporal variability in skin blood flow measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Heating
  • Laser Doppler
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Vascular control
  • Vasomotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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