+ Cardiovascular

    Laboratories - Cardiovascular

    About the Cardiovascular Laboratory

    Significant cardiovascular changes are associated with space flight. Outcomes can include:
    • Disturbances in cardiac rhythm.
    • Postflight faintness upon standing, because of drop in blood pressure. (orthostatic intolerance).
    • Reduced exercise tolerance.
    • Reduced circulating blood volume.
    • Changes in vascular function.
    • Greater susceptibility to orthostatic intolerance in women than men.
    Laboratories - Cardiovascular Operational Tilt Test used to determine orthostatic hypotension.
    Cardiovascular Laboratory personnel conduct ground-based and in-flight research to establish a normative database of cardiovascular changes due to space flight. Research activities delineate associated mechanisms and develop effective countermeasures.

    Comprehensive echocardiography and Doppler examinations are provided for prospective astronauts. Pre-, in- and postflight medical evaluations are performed in support of the Medical Operations role of maintaining the safety and health of crewmembers. Normal testing includes operational tilt tests, stand tests, heart rate, arterial pressure, cardiac rhythm, cardiac function (ultrasound), blood volume, plasma catecholamine levels, orthostatic intolerance, and changes in blood volume after flight.

    In-flight hardware is evaluated and developed to support the science and to monitor crew health. Examples include the American Echocardiograph Research Imaging System and hardware for the Human Research Facility such as an ultrasound device, pulse oximeter, lower body negative pressure device, Holter monitor, continuous blood pressure device, and the respiratory impedance plethysmograph.