GE to Send Cardiovascular Ultrasound System to Space

GE Healthcare yesterday announced that NASA has selected the company’s Vivid q cardiovascular ultrasound system for use by its human research program aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The laptop-sized device will be used to study the effects of long term space flight on astronauts’ bodies. GE also announced that the Vivid q might be used in underwater space simulation in addition to its use on the ISS.

NASA plans to use the equipment to replace and upgrade a 10-year-old ultrasound unit that stopped operating earlier this year in its Human Research Facility. The Vivid q device will be used for general crew health assessment, and in NASA space research investigations such as Integrated Cardiovascular, which looks at the weakening of heart muscles associated with long-duration spaceflight, and the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint) evaluation of the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in astronauts.

A European Space Agency experiment called Vascular Echography (Vessel Imaging) will use the device to help evaluate changes in central and peripheral blood vessel wall properties (thickness and compliance) and cross-sectional areas of station astronauts during and after long-term exposure to microgravity.

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