8.3 Waveform Data and Related Data Elements

The DICOM protocol provides for the exchange of encoded time-based signals, or waveforms, encoded in the Waveform Data Element (5400,1010).


Per Section 7.6, an IOD supporting multiple sets of Waveform Data will encapsulate Data Element (5400,1010) within a Sequence.

Encoded Waveform Data of various bit depths is accommodated through the Waveform Bits Allocated (5400,1004) Data Element. This element defines the size of each waveform data sample within the Waveform Data (5400,1010). Allowed values are 8 and 16 bits.

The Value Representation of the Waveform Data (5400,1010) shall be OW; OB shall be used in cases where Waveform Bits Allocated has a value of 8, but only with Transfer Syntaxes where the Value Representation is explicitly conveyed.


  1. Under the Default Transfer Syntax, OB and OW VRs have the identical byte transfer order.

  2. Conversion of a SOP Instance from the Default Transfer Syntax to an Explicit VR Transfer Syntax (uncompressed) requires the interpretation of the Waveform Bits Allocated (5400,1004) Data Element, to determine the proper VR of the Waveform Data.

The following data elements related to Waveform Data shall be encoded with the same VR as Waveform Data: Channel Minimum Value (5400,0110), Channel Maximum Value (5400,0112) and Waveform Padding Value (5400,100A).