A variety of optical techniques have been developed over the years for experimental use in vascular disease, mainly for the assessment of lower limb peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Optical techniques have several advantages over more traditional experimental approaches. Photoplethysmograph (PPG) was one of the earliest methods used for this purpose; PPG satisfies many of the conditions for a non-invasive technique to estimate skin blood flow using infrared light, not only for research but also in clinical practice. PPG is a promising, safe and easy-to-use tool for diagnosis and early screening of various atherosclerotic pathologies and could be useful for regular GP-assessment or even selfmonitoring of PAD at home or during individual physical exercises. This review discusses the application of PPG in the assessment of PAD.
Keywords: Peripheral arterial disease, ankle brachial pressure index, optics, plethysmograph and photoplethysmograph
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