Abdomen-high elastic gradient compression garments during post-spaceflight stand tests.Aviat Space Environ Med 2013; 84(5):459-66AS
Space Shuttle astronauts wore an inflatable antigravity suit during reentry and landing, and astronauts and cosmonauts wear an elastic-compression garment (with lacing) during Soyuz re-entry and landings and in the first few days of recovery. However, neither garment is an ideal countermeasure to spaceflight-induced orthostatic intolerance. Our laboratory has been investigating an elastic graded compression garment (GCG) that applies graduated pressures from the feet to the abdomen for use following International Space Station missions and possibly during exploration missions.
Before and after Shuttle missions, 14 astronauts participated in a 3.5-min stand test. The stand test was conducted without garments preflight. On landing day, 7 astronauts wore the GCG while 7 astronauts did not (controls). Heart rate and blood pressure were measured in all astronauts during prone rest and standing. Stroke volume and cardiac output were measured only in GCG subjects.
No astronauts in either group became presyncopal during the stand test preflight or postflight. The change in heart rate from prone to standing was lower in the GCG subjects on landing day than in the control subjects. Within the GCG subjects only, the increase in total peripheral resistance from prone to standing was higher after spaceflight.
The GCG prevented tachycardia and increased total peripheral resistance with standing after spaceflight. The GCG shows promise as a countermeasure against post-spaceflight orthostatic intolerance, can be easily donned, and is relatively comfortable to wear, but has not been validated after long-duration spaceflight.