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Skylab Ultrasound (SKYSOUND)
Research Area:
Cardiovascular physiology
Clinical medicine
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

To determine the effect of prolonged spaceflight on cardiac function and dimension.

The T-scan technique was used to measure thickness of the ventricular system and posterobasal left ventricular wall. Stroke volume was calculated by subtracting the end-systolic volume from the end-diastolic volume while ejection fraction was determined by dividing stroke volume by end-diastolic volume. Measurements were performed 10 days before launch, on recovery day and 1, 2, H, 11, 31 and 68 days postflight. They were made in conjunction with the lower body negative pressure protocol.

Small but significant decreases in stroke volume occurred in two of the three astronauts. No significant alteration in cardiac function occurred in any astronaut. The small decreases in left ventricular end-diastolic volume, stroke volume and left ventricular mass were reversible postflight over a 30-day period. There was no deterioration in cardiac function. The cardiovascular system adapts well to prolonged weightlessness and, therefore, alterations in cardiac dimensions and function are unlikely to limit man's future in space.

Henry WL, Epstein SE, Griffith JM, Goldstein RE, Redwood DR. Effect of prolonged space flight on cardiac function and dimensions: The Proceedings of the Skylab Life Sciences Symposium, Volume 2, Houston, Texas, 27-29 August 1974. NASA Technical Memorandum: NASA TM X-58154. Pages 711-721.

Henry, WL, Epstein SE, Griffith JM, Goldstein RE, Redwood DR. Chapter 35. Effect of prolonged space flight on cardiac function and dimensions. In: Johnston RS and Dietlein LF (editors). Biomedical Results from Skylab. Washington DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 1977:366-371. NASA Special Publication SP-377.


Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Ejection fraction
End diastolic volume
End systolic volume
Left ventricular free wall thickness
Left ventricular mass
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Skylab 4 11/16/1973 02/08/1974 84 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Hardware Items