Vascular Echography (Vessel Imaging) - 10.04.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Vascular Echography (Vessel Imaging) evaluates the changes in central and peripheral blood vessel wall properties (thickness and compliance) and cross sectional areas of long-duration ISS crewmembers during and after long-term exposure to microgravity.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Philippe Arbeille, M.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Vessel Imaging

Principal Investigator(s)
Philippe Arbeille, M.D., Universite Francois-Rabelais, Tours, France

Richard Lee Hughson, Ph.D., University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Joel Kevin Shoemaker, Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Dag Linnarsson, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Pierre Denise, University of Caen Basse Normandie, Caen, France

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2010 - March 2011; September 2011 - September 2013

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • A Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP) program will be run in parallel to Vessel Imaging.

  • Flow velocity changes in the aorta and the middle cerebral and femoral arteries will be used to quantify the cardiovascular response to fluid shift.

  • Vessel Imaging aims to optimize the countermeasures used routinely during long-duration space missions.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
By improving the understanding of the mechanisms behind changes to the cardiovascular system in space we in turn can develop more effective countermeasures, whether pharmacological, dietary or exercise-based in order to alleviate such adverse effects and hence improve/maintain the health and performance of astronauts working and living in orbit.

Earth Applications
In response to gravitational stress and exercise, human blood vessel diameters change. After spaceflight it seems that vessels that normally should contract to maintain blood pressure do not perform as well as they did before the (long duration) space flight. This research holds significance to similar conditions on earth as they are the same processes that occur in elderly patients. As such findings from this experiment will help in improving and maintaining the health and well-being of an elderly population and provide insight into other cardiovascular conditions on earth that encompass a similar impaired cardiovascular function.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Vascular Echography (Vessel Imaging) determines the effects of 6 months of microgravity exposure on conduit artery diameter and wall thickness. No significant changes with spaceflight were found for the common carotid artery and superficial femoral artery diameter. Intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery was found to be significantly increased (12%±4) in all astronauts during spaceflight (early and late flight) and remained elevated 4 days after returning to Earth. Similarly, superficial femoral artery IMT was increased during the flight but returned to preflight levels 4 days postflight.
Vessel Imaging demonstrated that, using the volume capture method of echography, untrained astronauts were able to capture enough echographic data to display vessel images of good quality for analysis. The increase in both common carotid artery and superficial femoral artery IMT during the flight suggest an adaptation to microgravity and to the confined environment of spaceflight which deserves further investigation.

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Results Publications

    Arbeille P, Provost R, Zuj KA.  Carotid and femoral artery intima-media thickness during 6 months of spaceflight. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2016 May 1; 87(5): 449-453. DOI: 10.3357/AMHP.4493.2016.

    Arbeille P, Provost R, Zuj KA, Vincent N.  Measurements of jugular, portal, femoral, and calf vein cross-sectional area for the assessment of venous blood redistribution with long duration spaceflight (Vessel Imaging Experiment). European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2015 May 20; epub. DOI: 10.1007/s00421-015-3189-6. PMID: 25991027.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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image NASA Image: JSC2010E187274 - Oblique-open view of Vessel Imaging Kit during European Space Agency (ESA) bench review process.
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