Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) is a measure of arterial stiffness, or the rate at which pressure waves move down the vessel. It has been established as a highly reliable prognostic parameter for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in a variety of adult populations including older adults, patients with end-stage renal disease, diabetes and hypertension. 

As blood flows through the vessels of the circulatory system, it moves out of the left ventricle and into the aorta where it is then pushed through the rest of the circulatory system.  During systole, the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood into the ascending aorta acutely dilates the aortic wall and generates a pressure wave that moves along the arterial tree.  The velocity of this movement gives a measurement of arterial compliance.  With age, or due to changes in the arterial wall, these vessels become stiffer and the speed at which the pressure wave moves through the system is increased.

In addition, there are reflected pressure waves that move back towards the heart at the end of the systolic period.  When the pressure waves move faster through the arteries, the reflected waves will also move back quicker.  This causes more work on the Cardiovascular system due to the increased afterload on the ventricle resulting in a greater systolic pressure needed to overcome this afterload.

PWV can be collected by using two pressure catheters placed a known distance from one another, referred to as the Pulse Wave Distance.  The time it takes the pressure wave to go from the upstream pressure catheter to the downstream pressure catheter provides the Pulse Transit Time (PTT).  PWV can then be calculated by dividing the distance by the transit time providing a measure of cardiovascular health.

DSI offers solutions to measure Pulse Wave Velocity that offer flexibility, reliable performance and quality to satisfy research needs.

Pulse Wave Velocity Solutions from DSI

DSI has developed robust solutions for data acquisition and analysis in studies looking at Pulse Wave Velocity. Available monitoring solutions cover small to large animal species with industry leading technology.

Pulse Wave Velocity is measured by placing two pressure catheters into vessels a known distance apart.  This derives the Pulse Transit Time which is used, along with the measured distance, in the calculation of Pulse Wave Velocity 

Implantable Telemetry 

DSI’s 
PhysioTel™ implants are designed for monitoring and collecting data from conscious, freely moving laboratory animals, providing stress-free data collection while eliminating percutaneous infections. PhysioTel implants are offered in different sizes to support a variety of research models ranging from mice and rats to dogs and non-human primates. The shapes of DSI implants are designed to accommodate various surgical placements including subcutaneous and intraperitoneal placement.

DSI's HD-S21 small animal implant helps researchers optimize pulse wave velocity measurements. The HD-S21 offers the possibility of recording two pressure signals in many cardiovascular research applications where long-term monitoring for cardiovascular disease progression is desirable.

Hardwired Application

DSI also offers a hardwired solution in which two pressure catheters are inserted at different points, a known distance apart.  The pressure information is then acquired using an ACQ-7700 acquisition interface unit and a Universal XE signal conditioner. 

In addition to measuring pressures, the Universal XE signal conditioner has the ability to handle a wide variety of signals including biopotential, pulmonary pressure, tension, temperature and various other inputs. 

Software Solutions 

At the core of every physiologic monitoring system is a data acquisition and analysis platform. DSI offers complete acquisition and analysis systems designed to turn physiologic signals into usable results.

Ponemah™ is compatible with all DSI monitoring solutions offering flexible, customizable acquisition interfaces. Ponemah’s modular design gives researchers the power to select analysis modules for the research performed.

Ponemah's Blood Pressure Analysis Module provides researchers with PTT and PWV as well as a number of other derived values to help with research needs.  

Each of DSI’s solutions for measuring PWV consist of the recommended sensors, hardware, softwareand accessories needed to reliably and accurately collect and analyze data.

Shown here are common, recommended system setups for DSI PWV solutions.


Small Animal Implantable Telemetry System


  • HD-S21 transmitter
  • Reciever
  • Data Exchange Matrix (DEM)
  • Ambient Pressure Reference (APR-1)
  • Ponemah Acquisition and Analysis Software with Blood Pressure Analysis Module

Hardwired Monitoring System
  • 2 pressure catheters of equal length (per animal)
  • ACQ7700 acquisition interface unit with Universal XE signal conditioner
  • Ponemah Acquisition and Analysis Software with Blood Pressure Analysis Module
DSI's new bibliography search tool assists with finding publications known to use DSI technology. It is searchable by fields such as keyword, title, author and additional fields. Easily export the references to a personal computer. These particular publications have been included as key references to understanding the use of animals in the study of pulse wave velocity.

Bourland, JD., Geddes, LA. “Smooth muscle relaxation: effects on arterial compliance, distensibility, elastic modulus, and pulse wave velocity.” Hypertension.  1998: 32(2): 356-9.

Grenwis, JE., Bogie, H., Main. B. “A Chronic Method for Measuring Real-time Pulse Wave Velocity in Conscious Rodents.” Data Sciences International (DSI). 2012.

Hunter, R. “Hemodynamic, ECG and Function Telemetry in Conscious Ferrets Administered Verapamil.” Poster, Safety Pharmacology Society, September 2011.

Isabelle, M., Chimenti, S., Gransagne, D., Chariglione, S., Vayssettes-Chourchay, C., Villeneuve, N., Bilaine, JP. “New Method to Assess Arterial Stiffness in Conscious Unrestrained Rats by Telemetry.” Servier Research Institute. 2012.

Kitayama, T., Saito, T., Kajihara, M., Harada, K. “Evaluation of effects on cardiac contractility in conscious common marmosets using telemetry.” Journal Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods.  2012: 66(2):  195-196.

Konrad, PE., Tacker, WA. “Implanted pulse sensors for measuring pulse wave velocity.”  Journal of Clinical Engineering.  1989: 14(6).

Mitchell, GF, Pfeffer, MA, Finn, PV, and Pfeffer JM. “Comparison of techniques for measuring pulse-wave velocity in the rat.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 1997; 82:203-210.

O’Rourke, MF., Gallagher, DE. “Pulse Wave Analysis.”
Journal of Hypertension.  1996; 14: 147-157.

Poulin, D. “An Exploratory Efficacy Study of Pulmonary Arterial Pressure in Spraque-Dawley Rats.” Poster, American College of Toxicology, November 2011.

Segreti, J. “Simultaneous Measurement of Arterial and Left Ventricular Pressure in Conscious Freely Moving Rats by Telemetry.”  Poster 101, Safety Pharmacology Society, September 2010.

This information is provided in good faith and believed accurate at the time of writing. No
responsibility will be taken, or liability accepted, for damages arising from the use of information herein.

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