Wavelet-Based Spectrum Analysis of Sacral Skin Blood Flow Response to Alternating Pressure

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Jan Y-K, Brienza DM, Geyer MJ, Karg P. Wavelet-based spectrum analysis of sacral skin blood flow response to alternating pressure. Objectives: To provide insight into the physiologic mechanisms associated with alternating pressure, using wavelet analysis of skin blood flow (SBF) oscillations, and to determine whether the application of alternating pressure induces myogenic responses, thereby enhancing SBF as compared with constant loading. Design: Repeated-measures design. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Healthy, young adults (N=10; 5 men, 5 women; mean age ± standard deviation, 30.0±3.1y). Intervention: Alternating pressure for 20 minutes (four 5-min cycles with either 60mmHg or 3mmHg) and constant loading for 20 minutes at 30mmHg on the skin over the sacrum. Main Outcome Measures: A laser Doppler flowmeter was used to measure sacral SBF response to both alternating pressure and constant loading. Wavelet-based spectrum analysis of SBF oscillations was used to assess underlying physiologic mechanisms including endothelium-related metabolic (.008-.02Hz), neurogenic (.02-.05Hz), and myogenic (.05-.15Hz) controls. Results: Alternating pressure stimulated an increase in sacral SBF of compressed soft tissues as compared with constant loading (P<.01). SBF during the high-pressure phase of 4 alternating pressure cycles showed an increasing trend. An increase in power in metabolic frequency range and a decrease in power in the myogenic frequency range during alternating pressure were observed compared with SBF prior to loading. Power increased in the myogenic frequency range during the low-pressure phase of alternating pressure and decreased during the high-pressure phase. Conclusions: SBF control mechanisms, as assessed by the characteristic frequencies embedded in SBF oscillations, show different responses to 2 loading pressures with the same average pressure but different patterns. Our study suggests that optimization of operating parameters and configurations of alternating pressure support surfaces to compensate for impaired SBF control mechanisms in pathologic populations may be possible using wavelet analysis of blood flow oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Doppler-laser flowmetry
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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