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Quantitative electrocardiography during extended space flight.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acta Astronautica
0094-5765
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
1-2
Pages
89–102
Identifiers
PMID: 11841097
Source
Medline
Keywords
  • Nasa Experiment Number M093
  • Nasa Experiment Number M171

Abstract

To assess the effects of prolonged space flight on the electrophysiological properties of the heart, vectorcardiograms (VCG) were obtained on the Skylab crews at regular intervals during flight and the pre- and postflight periods. The VCG signals were telemetered from Skylab and analyzed by digital computer. Conventional 12-lead electrocardiograms were derived from the VCG signals by a lead transformation program. Standardized exercise loads were incorporated into the experiment protocol to increase the sensitivity of the VCG for effects of deconditioning and to detect susceptibility for arrhythmias. In Skylab II, 24 preflight, 21 inflight, and 19 postflight experiments were analyzed. Statistically significant inflight changes observed in two or more crew members included: decreased resting heart rate, increased QRS duration, anterior shift QRS vector, increased QRS vector magnitude, anterior shift T vector, and increased T vector magnitude. One astronaut had occasional premature ventricular contractions (PVC) during the pre- and postflight phases. He had a single episode of multiple PVC's during heavy-load exercise testing in flight. A second astronaut had no arrhythmia during pre- or inflight testing. On postflight day 21 he had multiple PVC's and salvos of ectopic ventricular beats. He has had no recurrence of the arrhythmia. With the exception of the cardiac arrhythmias, no deleterious electrophysiological changes were observed during Skylab II.

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