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Ballistocardiography is an old, noninvasive technique used to record the movements of the body synchronous with the heartbeat due to left ventricular pump activity. Despite the fact that this technique to measure cardiac output has been superseded by more advanced and precise techniques, it is useful for teaching cardiac cycle physiology in an undergraduate practical course because of its noninvasive application in humans, clear physiological and physiopathological analysis, and practical approach to considering cardiac output issues. In the present report, a simple, low cost, easy-to-build ballistocardiography system is implemented together with a theoretical and practical session that includes NewtonÂs laws, cardiac output, cardiac pump activity, anatomy and physiology of the vessel circulation, vectorial composition, and signal transduction, which makes cardiovascular physiology easy to understand and focuses on the study of cardiac output otherwise seen only with the help of computer simulation or echocardiography. The proposed system is able to record body displacement or force as ballistocardiography traces and its changes caused by different physiological factors. The ballistocardiography session was included in our medical physiology course six years ago with very high acceptance and approval rates from the students.
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