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Effect of gravitational gradients on cardiac filling and performance


Negishi, K and Borowski, AG and Popovic, ZB and Greenberg, NL and Martin, DS and Bungo, MW and Levine, BD and Thomas, JD, Effect of gravitational gradients on cardiac filling and performance, Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, 30, (12) pp. 1180-1188. ISSN 0894-7317 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 by the American Society of Echocardiography.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.echo.2017.08.005


Background: Gravity affects every aspect of cardiac performance. When gravitational gradients are at their greatest on Earth (i.e., during upright posture), orthostatic intolerance may ensue and is a common clinical problem that appears to be exacerbated by the adaptation to spaceflight. We sought to elucidate the alterations in cardiac performance during preload reduction with progressive upright tilt that are relevant both for space exploration and the upright posture, particularly the preload dependence of various parameters of cardiovascular performance.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study with tilt-induced hydrostatic stress. Echocardiographic images were recorded at four different tilt angles in 13 astronauts, to mimic varying degrees of gravitational stress: 0 (supine, simulating microgravity of space), 22 head-up tilt (0.38G, simulating Martian gravity), 41 (0.66G, simulating approximate G load of a planetary lander), and 80 (1G, effectively full Earth gravity). These images were then analyzed offline to assess the effects of preload reduction on anatomical and functional parameters.

Results: Although three-dimensional end-diastolic, end-systolic, and stroke volumes were significantly reduced during tilting, ejection fractions showed no significant change. Mitral annular e' and a' velocities were reduced with increasing gravitational load (P<.001 and P=.001), although s' was not altered. Global longitudinal strain (GLS; from -19.8%2.2% to -14.7%1.5%) and global circumferential strain (GCS; from -29.2%2.5% to -26.0%1.8%) were reduced significantly with increasing gravitational stress (both P<.001), while the change in strain rates were less certain: GLSR (P=.049); GCSR (P=.55). End-systolic elastance was not consistently changed (P=.53), while markers of cardiac afterload rose significantly (effective arterial elastance, P<.001; systemic vascular resistance, P<.001).

Conclusions: Preload modification with gravitational loading alters most hemodynamic and echocardiographic parameters including e' velocity, GLS, and GCS. However, end-systolic elastance and strain rate appear to be more load-independent measures to examine alterations in the cardiovascular function during postural and preload changes, including microgravity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:astronauts, gravity, NASA, preload, strain
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Negishi, K (Dr Kazuaki Negishi)
ID Code:124552
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:40
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-02-26
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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