1991-07-01

Cardiovascular Adaptation to O-G (Experiment 294): Instrumentation for Invasive and Non-invasive Studies 911563

Many astronauts returning from space have difficulties regulating blood pressure, some to the point of fainting during quiet standing. Experiment 294 was designed to study this and other cardiovascular effects of adaptation to microgravity and to understand the mechanisms behind it. To accomplish this several cardiovascular variables had to be measured accurately. Heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output (blood pumped by the heart each minute), stroke volume (blood pumped by the heart with each beat), limb flow, limb compliance, heart size and central venous pressure all had to been recorded during various stresses to understand fully the adaptation to space and the readaptation to earth's gravity. Numerous pieces of equipment were used. Some were purpose-built for the Spacelab mission and others were derived from commercial hardware. Developing spaceflight hardware is challenging and costly, but can lead to significant new information in the unique environment of space.

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