The Korotkoff sounds which are obtained during determination of blood pressure with the sphygmomanometer may be used to determine indirectly the waveform of the peripheral arterial pulse, yielding thereby information of diagnostic value about the cardiovascular system.
The waveform and its timing with respect to the electrocardiographic Q-wave can, for example, give the clinician information about the electrical-to-mechanical activation time of the cardiac muscle, the resistance to outflow from the left side of the heart and the capacitance or elasticity of the arterial tree.
Measurement of the arterial waveform can be obtained directly by catheterization of the brachial artery. Since, however, this method is not practical for screening or routine clinical examinations, an indirect technique, known as sphygmorecording, has been developed.
Alan Kahn, MD, Fullerton, Calif, explained this technique in a report to the 18th annual Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology in Philadelphia.
"If we time the Korotkoff