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  • Review Article
  • Open Access

Multimodal Pressure-Flow Analysis: Application of Hilbert Huang Transform in Cerebral Blood Flow Regulation

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20082008:785243

  • Received: 3 September 2007
  • Accepted: 14 April 2008
  • Published:


Quantification of nonlinear interactions between two nonstationary signals presents a computational challenge in different research fields, especially for assessments of physiological systems. Traditional approaches that are based on theories of stationary signals cannot resolve nonstationarity-related issues and, thus, cannot reliably assess nonlinear interactions in physiological systems. In this review we discuss a new technique called multimodal pressure flow (MMPF) method that utilizes Hilbert-Huang transformation to quantify interaction between nonstationary cerebral blood flow velocity (BFV) and blood pressure (BP) for the assessment of dynamic cerebral autoregulation (CA). CA is an important mechanism responsible for controlling cerebral blood flow in responses to fluctuations in systemic BP within a few heart-beats. The MMPF analysis decomposes BP and BFV signals into multiple empirical modes adaptively so that the fluctuations caused by a specific physiologic process can be represented in a corresponding empirical mode. Using this technique, we showed that dynamic CA can be characterized by specific phase delays between the decomposed BP and BFV oscillations, and that the phase shifts are significantly reduced in hypertensive, diabetics and stroke subjects with impaired CA. Additionally, the new technique can reliably assess CA using both induced BP/BFV oscillations during clinical tests and spontaneous BP/BFV fluctuations during resting conditions.


  • Cerebral Blood Flow
  • Nonlinear Interaction
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Physiological System
  • Systemic Blood Pressure

Publisher note

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Authors’ Affiliations

Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Division of Interdisciplinary Medicine & Biotechnology and Margret & H.A. Rey Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Research Center for Adaptive Data Analysis, National Central University, Chungli, 32054, Taiwan
DynaDx Corporation, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA


© Men-Tzung Lo et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.