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Influence of Gravity on Blood Volume and Flow DistributionIn our previous experiments during NASA Shuttle flights SLS 1 and 2 (9-15 days) and EUROMIR flights (30-90 days) we observed that pulmonary blood flow (cardiac output) was elevated initially, and surprisingly remained elevated for the duration of the flights. Stroke volume increased initially and then decreased, but was still above 1 Gz values. As venous return was constant, the changes in SV were secondary to modulation of heart rate. Mean blood pressure was at or slightly below 1 Gz levels in space, indicating a decrease in total peripheral resistance. It has been suggested that plasma volume is reduced in space, however cardiac output/venous return do not return to 1 Gz levels over the duration of flight. In spite of the increased cardiac output, central venous pressure was not elevated in space. These data suggest that there is a change in the basic relationship between cardiac output and central venous pressure, a persistent "hyperperfusion" and a re-distribution of blood flow and volume during space flight. Increased pulmonary blood flow has been reported to increase diffusing capacity in space, presumably due to the improved homogeneity of ventilation and perfusion. Other studies have suggested that ventilation may be independent of gravity, and perfusion may not be gravity- dependent. No data for the distribution of pulmonary blood volume were available for flight or simulated microgravity. Recent studies have suggested that the pulmonary vascular tree is influenced by sympathetic tone in a manner similar to that of the systemic system. This implies that the pulmonary circulation is dilated during microgravity and that the distribution of blood flow and volume may be influenced more by vascular control than by gravity. The cerebral circulation is influenced by sympathetic tone similarly to that of the systemic and pulmonary circulations; however its effects are modulated by cerebral autoregulation. Thus it is difficult to predict if cerebral perfusion is increased and if there is edema in space. Anecdotal evidence suggests there may be cerebral edema early in flight. Cerebral artery velocity has been shown to be elevated in simulated microgravity. The elevated cerebral artery velocity during simulated microgravity may reflect vasoconstriction of the arteries and not increased cerebral blood flow. The purpose of our investigations was to evaluate the effects of alterations in simulated gravity (+/-), resulting in changes in cardiac output (+/-), and on the blood flow and volume distribution in the lung and brain of human subjects. The first hypothesis of these studies was that blood flow and volume would be affected by gravity, but their distribution in the lung would be independent of gravity and due to vasoactivity changing vascular resistance in lung vessels. The vasodilitation of the lung vasculature (lower resistance) along with increased "compliance" of the heart could account for the absence of increased central venous pressure in microgravity. Secondly, we postulate that cerebral blood velocity is increased in microgravity due to large artery vasoconstriction, but that cerebral blood flow would be reduced due to autoregulation.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pendergast, D. (State Univ. of New York Buffalo, NY United States)
Olszowka, A. (State Univ. of New York Buffalo, NY United States)
Bednarczyk, E. (State Univ. of New York Buffalo, NY United States)
Shykoff, B. (State Univ. of New York Buffalo, NY United States)
Farhi, L. (State Univ. of New York Buffalo, NY United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 11, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop(League City, TX)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000020485Analytic PrimaryProceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop