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Marked exacerbation of orthostatic intolerance after long- vs. short-duration spaceflight in veteran astronautsOBJECTIVE: The incidence of postflight orthostatic intolerance after short-duration spaceflight is about 20%. However, the incidence after long-duration spaceflight was unknown. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that orthostatic intolerance is more severe after long-duration than after short-duration flight. METHODS: We performed tilt tests on six astronauts before and after long-duration (129-190 days) spaceflights and compared these data with data obtained during stand tests before and after previous short-duration missions. RESULTS: Five of the six astronauts studied became presyncopal during tilt testing after long-duration flights. Only one had become presyncopal during stand testing after short-duration flights. We also compared the long-duration flight tilt test data to tilt test data from 20 different astronauts who flew on the short-duration Shuttle missions that delivered and recovered the astronauts to and from the Mir Space Station. Five of these 20 astronauts became presyncopal on landing day. Heart rate responses to tilt were no different between astronauts on long-duration flights and astronauts on short-duration flights, but long-duration subjects had lower stroke volumes and cardiac outputs than short-duration presyncopal subjects, suggesting a possible decrease in cardiac contractile function. One subject had subnormal norepinephrine release with upright posture after the long flight but not after the short flight. Plasma volume losses were not greater after long flights. CONCLUSION: Long-duration spaceflight markedly increases orthostatic intolerance, probably with multiple contributing factors.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Meck, J. V.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston TX United States)
Reyes, C. J.
Perez, S. A.
Goldberger, A. L.
Ziegler, M. G.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Psychosomatic medicine
Volume: 63
Issue: 6
ISSN: 0033-3174
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
STS Shuttle Project
long duration
Flight Experiment
Mir Project
short duration
NASA Discipline Cardiopulmonary

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