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Renal Stone Management Technology Development and Clinical Validation Study (Renal_Stone_Study)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Biomedical countermeasures
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Stones have plagued humans since ancient Egypt. One in eleven Americans has suffered from stones - more than have diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Dehydration, stasis, and bone demineralization are strong contributors to kidney stones, and occur in microgravity, increasing the risk of stones in space. Stones are often debilitating, and pilots cannot fly with stones. The total number of astronaut stone episodes has more than doubled, and a drug introduced to combat visual impairment/intracranial pressure has exacerbated the risk. Science, experience, and the negative medical consequences support concern for the risk of stones in space. NASA has focused considerable attention on stone mitigation and has made some progress. However, there are many types of stone disease, and it is unlikely that stone disease will ever be completely prevented on Earth or in space.

The goal of this study was to clinically validate the utility of a commercially viable disruptive medical technology for use during space exploration. Application to date has been on expelling stones from the kidney. This work will expand the capabilities of the technology to meet the more advanced needs in space. The investigators conducted an analog test of a new way to save astronauts from the debilitating pain of kidney stones where there currently are no treatment options. They validated, in emergency department patients, the capability to dislodge and reposition ureteral stones in two locations: the uretero-pelvic junction (UPJ) from obstructing and/or the uretero- vesical junction (UVJ). The technology will work as an adjunct to medications and other interventions used to try to prevent stone formation, ease stone passage, or mitigate pain. The capability has already been built into NASA's Flexible Ultrasound System (FUS) and as such the complexity and cost of including such a potentially game changing technology for astronaut safety is extremely low.

The experiment had the following specific aim:

  1. Determine the effectiveness of Ultrasonic Propulsion to reposition an obstructing ureteral stone.

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Kidney calculi
Urinary tract

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
Data Sets+ Request data

Bladder spasms
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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
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
Directed Research