Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment (Card) - 09.17.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment (Card) experiment studies blood pressure decreases in the human body exposed to microgravity on board the ISS.
Science Results for Everyone
People with high blood pressure should head for orbit. The Card investigation monitored eight male astronauts and found a decrease in their 24-hour awake blood pressure that was equal to a low dose of anti-hypertensive medication. Researchers also found a 30 percent increase in cardiac output and a 30 percent decrease in resistance to blood flow through peripheral blood vessels. It seems three to six months of spaceflight expands the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure which is good for hypertensive space travelers. Researchers also observed unchanged levels of activity of sympathetic motor nerves, which is surprising in light of the other findings and requires further investigation.
Danish Aerospace Medical Centre of Research, Copenhagen, , Denmark
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2006 - September 2012
Previous ISS Missions
Card is an ongoing USOS integrated investigation which began on ISS Expedition 19/20.
- Blood pressure will be measured automatically using a portable device at various intervals.
- Cardiac output will be measured using the foreign gas rebreathing technique.
- Urine will be collected to measure renal sodium output.
- Blood will be collected to test for the determination of chronic sympathetic nervous activity.
The Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment (Card) experiment studies blood pressure decreases when the human body is exposed to microgravity. In order to increase the blood pressure to the level it was on Earth, salt is added to the crewmembers' diet. To monitor this, blood pressure readings and urine samples are performed at different intervals during the mission.
In microgravity, the cardiovascular system relaxes causing a drop in the blood volume and pressure. This also causes the fluid and sodium retaining systems to be activated. One theory of this occurrence is that the body's of sodium is decreased. This investigation will examine whether blood pressure and volume can be restored to the same levels that were measured during groundbased measurements by adding additional salt to the astronauts' food.
Card requires the collection of urine and blood samples. Blood pressure will be measured by a portable equipment device called an oscillometry. The foreign gas rebreathing technique will be used to measure cardiac output.
Christensen NJ, Heer MA, Heer MA, Heer MA, Ivanova K, Norsk P. Sympathetic nervous activity decreases during head down bed rest but not during microgravity. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007 September; 19(5-6): 95-97.
Gabrielsen A, Norsk P. Effect of Spaceflight on the subcutaneous venoarteriolar reflex in the human lower leg. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2007; 103(3): 959-962. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00899.2006.
Christensen NJ, Heer MA, Heer MA, Heer MA, Ivanova K, Norsk P. Sympathetic nervous activity decreases during head-down bed rest but not during microgravity . Journal of Applied Physiology. 2005 June 16; 99(4): 1552-1557. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00017.2005.
Ground Based Results Publications
Zhang L. Vascular adaptation to microgravity: what have we learned?. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2001 December; 91(6): 2415-2430. PMID: 11717201.
Norsk P, Christensen NJ. The paradox of systemic vasodilatation and sympathetic nervous stimulation in space. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology. 2009 October; 169 Suppl 1: s26-s29. DOI: 10.1016/j.resp.2009.07.020. PMID: 19651245.
The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.
The information provided is courtesy of the ESA Astrolab Mission web page.
NASA Image: ISS019E018475 - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, Expedition 19 flight engineer, prepares to blow into the Pulmonary Function Module/Photoacoustic Analyzer Module (PFM/PAM) rebreathing unit for the Pulmonary Function System (PFS) to begin Day 1 of the ESA cardiological experiment CARD (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease. The hardware is located on the Human Research Facility Rack 2 (HRF-2) in the Columbus module.
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NASA Image: ISS020E046971 - View of Astronaut Michael Barratt,Expedition 19/20 flight engineer,working at the ESA cardiological experiment CARD (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease) in the U.S. Laboratory.
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