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A Phantom and Test Bed to Enhance Kidney Stone Comminution by Therapeutic Ultrasound (NCC958SMST04502)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Organismal biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Sus scrofa Species: Pig

Kidney stones are common on Earth, and space travel only exacerbates the risk. Over 15 years of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) funded research have developed burst wave lithotripsy (BWL), which comminutes stones faster and more completely than shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) in a bench top water bath. The University of Washington licensed the technology to a commercial partner, and NSBRI funded the BWL development for integration into NASA’s Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC)’s Flexible Ultrasound (FUS) system. However, neither SWL nor BWL comminutes stones as well in a confined space, such as the kidney, and both perform even less well when the stone is obstructing and surrounded by tissue. In addition, cavitation is acutely sensitive to carbon dioxide, which is 30 times more soluble than oxygen in water, and carbon dioxide levels can be elevated 20 times in NASA vehicles. Carbon dioxide dissolves bubble nuclei and quenches cavitation collapse, has been associated with visual impairment and intracranial pressure (VIIP), and suppresses kidney stone detection. This study sought to discover effective BWL exposures to counteract the effects of confinement and carbon dioxide.

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Simon JC, Wang YN, Cunitz BW, Thiel J, Starr F, Liu Z, and Bailey MR. Effect of carbon dioxide on the twinkling artifact in ultrasound imaging of kidney stones: A pilot study. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. 2017. May; 43(5):877-83. [DOI]

May PC, Kreider W, Maxwell AD, Wang YN, Cunitz BW, Blomgren PM, Johnson C, Park JSH, Bailey MR, Lee D, Harper JD, and Sorensen MD. Detection and evaluation of renal injury in burst wave lithotripsy using ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Endourology. 2017. August; 31(8):786-92. [DOI]

Technology assessment
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Kidney calculi

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.

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

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 Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2015-16 HERO NNJ15ZSA001N