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New optical probes are developed for carotid distention waveform measurements, in order to assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The probes make use of two distinct photodetectors: planar and avalanche photodiodes. Their performance is compared for visible and infrared (IR) light wavelengths. The test setup designed for the evaluation of the probes simulates the fatty deposits commonly seen in the obese people, between skin and the artery. The performed tests show that the attenuation of the signal is lower for the IR light, with higher penetration and better resolution in the captured distension waveform, with higher definition in morphological features on the wave and higher signal-to-noise ratio when compared to the visible source signals. The probes show good overall performance in the test setup with a root mean square error lower than 8%. In vivo, the IR probes allow easier waveform detection, even more relevant with the increasing deposit structures.