Formulas to Explain Popular Oscillometric Blood Pressure Estimation Algorithms

Anand Chandrasekhar, Mohammad Yavarimanesh, Jin Oh Hahn, Shih Hsien Sung, Chen Huan Chen, Hao Min Cheng, Ramakrishna Mukkamala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Oscillometry is the blood pressure (BP) measurement principle of most automatic cuff devices. The oscillogram (which is approximately the blood volume oscillation amplitude-external pressure function) is measured, and BP is then estimated via an empirical algorithm. The objective was to establish formulas to explain three popular empirical algorithms in the literature—the maximum amplitude, derivative, and fixed ratio algorithms. A mathematical model of the oscillogram was developed and analyzed to derive parametric formulas for explaining each algorithm. Exemplary parameter values were obtained by fitting the model to measured oscillograms. The model and formulas were validated by showing that their predictions correspond to measurements. The formula for the maximum amplitude algorithm indicates that it yields a weighted average of systolic and diastolic BP (0.45 and 0.55 weighting) instead of commonly assumed mean BP. The formulas for the derivative algorithm indicate that it can accurately estimate systolic and diastolic BP (<1.5 mmHg error), if oscillogram measurement noise can be obviated. The formulas for the fixed ratio algorithm indicate that it can yield inaccurate BP estimates, because the ratios change substantially (over a 0.5–0.6 range) with arterial compliance and pulse pressure and error in the assumed ratio translates to BP error via large amplification (>40). The established formulas allow for easy and complete interpretation of perhaps the three most popular oscillometric BP estimation algorithms in the literature while providing new insights. The model and formulas may also be of some value toward improving the accuracy of automatic cuff BP measurement devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1415
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • arterial compliance
  • blood pressure measurement
  • cuff device
  • cuff-less device
  • derivative oscillometry
  • fixed ratios
  • mathematical model
  • oscillometry


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