Beyond the operational medical monitoring of the cosmonauts, the main objective of Cardiomed is to get a better understanding of mechanisms underlying the changes in the cardiovascular system and then to propose adapted prophylaxies to maintain the crew in a good health and well-being during its stay on board and to prepare the astronauts to their return on Earth. These researches thus contribute to the progress of space medicine.
In any case, the Cardiomed equipment developed for this research shows spin-offs in ground medical applications for investigation of the vascular functioning of the lower limbs, the fluid shifts and their role in generating orthostatic hypotonia or dysotonaumia. The results of this research also enabled the definition of new protocols for preventing disorders in regulation of arterial pressure (orthostatic hypotonia) found in 30% of elderly people.
Thus, Cardiomed allows to study of the cardio vascular system, its central and peripheral regulation and its short-term and long-term adaptation to altered gravity levels.
The Research Areas are the following:
Autonomous control of heart rate and circulation
- Regulation of blood pressure, perfusion and heart rate in response to space conditions, fluid shift, exercise and other external stimuli.
- Interference of basic mechanisms (at muscle level, vestibular or vascular ones) with these regulations.
- Arterial and venous hemodynamics, and properties.
Fluid volume regulation
- Overall body fluid content and composition as well as its segmental and compartmental distribution.
- Fluid volume regulation (in its short and long-term components) and its close relation with cardiovascular regulation.
The Cardiomed system should enable to improve the prevention of cardio-vascular dysfunctions due to microgravity: cardio-vascular deconditioning, calcareous loss, syncope risk, etc.
- Via cardio-vascular parameter monitoring (electrocardiogram, tension, vascular flux, etc.) of the cosmonauts.
- Via undertaking adapted physical exercises, with for example the use of a bicycle ergonometer or rubber pants to draw the blood in the lower limbs (Low Body Negative Pressure).
- Via real-time monitoring from the ground of exercises such as LBNP. The medical data measured by the instruments (including tchibis, cardiopres, and doppler) are telemeasured to the TSOUP in real time during a LBNP protocol sequence because the exercise must be conducted under medical monitoring due to the risks for the cosmonaut.