Human Research Facility Continuous Blood Pressure Device


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Facility Overview

This content was provided by Cynthia P. Haven, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Facility Summary

The Continuous Blood Pressure Device (CBPD) is a noninvasive beat-to-beat blood pressure, heart rate, and electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement device for use by crewmembers in microgravity.

Facility Manager(s)

  • Cynthia P. Haven, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
  • Co-Facility Manager(s)

    Information Pending

    Facility Developer(s)

    Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    Information Pending

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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The Continuous Blood Pressure Device (CBPD) measures blood pressure, heart rate, and electrical activity of the heart.

    • The CBPD requires a 28-Vdc power supply or a 12-V battery power supply pack to allow continuous operation.

    • The CBPD has three finger cuffs of different sizes to accommodate all International Space Station crewmembers.


    The Continuous Blood Pressure Device (CBPD) is a noninvasive measurement device that measures blood pressure continually at the finger using plethysmography (which measures the change in volume of the finger due to blood flow). Finger cuffs, which have a small bladder and an infrared spectral measurement transmitter and receiver, are placed around the fingers. A basic three-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) amplifier is also provided for measurement of ECG data from the subject.

    The CBPD is configured in a waist belt with three pouches to allow for individual (but electrically connected) stowage of the pump, microprocessor, and direct-current power adapter, which is replaced by batteries for ambulatory use. The waist-pouch configuration supports the front-end servo-controller, which operates attached to the back of the forearm and interfaces to the microprocessor and pump through electrical and air tube connections. The front end controls the pressure and data interface to the finger cuffs being used for arterial blood pressure monitoring. The front-end unit sends pressure feedback from infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to the microprocessor for pump control and data acquisition purposes. The microprocessor has an internal flash memory card that can store up to 40 MB of blood pressure and heart rate data. The CBPD power and data interfaces reside in the microprocessor unit. The CBPD can, via software, interface to the Human Research Facility (HRF) laptop and workstation to download, display, and archive data. The data interfaces are RS-232 for personal computer monitoring and control, input for analog ECG, heart rate, and respiration timing; and output for analog blood pressure, ECG, and height correction.

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    Facility Operations

    The CBPD can be used to monitor beat-to-beat blood pressure for a wide range of investigations. The hardware (excluding the frontend unit which goes on the forearm) can be worn around the crewmembers' waist for extended periods of time, or it can be attached to a handrail or other Human Research Facility (HRF) hardware depending on the application.

    To use the CBPD, the crewmember retrieves the hardware from its stowage location and dons the waist pack and frontend unit. The CBPD front-end unit is worn on the wrist or lower forearm and the main unit is inside a belt assembly worn around the waist. Alternatively, the belt assembly can be tethered to a hand rail during certain experiment scenarios. The finger cuffs are then applied. The CBPD can operate in two modes.

    • Ambulatory mode - battery powered, storing data on internal memory.

    • Monitoring mode - battery or rack power, sending data in real time to the PC via RS-232 or to ADAS via +/-5V analog outputs.
    Depending on the experiment, the CBPD interfaces with the ADAS, HRF Laptop, or HRF Workstation, although it can operate independently of any of these devices. The subject sets the appropriate software parameters including age, weight, height, etc. This can be done via the frontend unit keypad/display or, if using the Laptop/Workstation, via that software interface to the CBPD. Power is obtained either via the HRF Common Battery or the CBPD dc Power Adapter. The power option selected depends on the experiment scenario; the battery allows for untethered operations.

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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  • Onboard ISS
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    Results Publications

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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
  • ISS Medical Project
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    image NASA Image: JSC2005e45877 - Expedition 13 Astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, Space Station Science Officer and Flight Engineer, trains in the Payload Development Laboratory in Building 9 at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, using the Continuous Blood Pressure Device while Lee Barker (trainer) assists.
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    image NASA Image: JSC2005e45872 - Expedition 13 Astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, Space Station Science Officer and Flight Engineer, holds up two finger cuffs during training on the Human Research Facility Continuous Blood Pressure Device in the Payload Development Laboratory at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.
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