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Since 2010, Cardiomed has been keeping a check on the health of Russian cosmonauts on board the International Space Station.

Cardiomed is a French-Russian collaboration consisting of 10 clinical protocols dedicated to monitoring cosmonauts’ cardiovascular system. The unit’s 5 instruments measure parameters such as muscular activity of the myocardium (ECG), arterial blood pressure and flow, and calf muscle volume, both at rest and during physical activity on an exercise bike or when wearing the Chibis lower-body negative-pressure device.

Housed inside the Russian module of the International Space Station (ISS), Cardiomed is monitored in real time from the TsUP flight control centre in Moscow. There is also a Cardiomed unit at Star City, the Russian cosmonauts’ training centre, to take readings before and after space missions.

Comparable to the Cardiolab unit in the European Columbus laboratory on the ISS, Cardiomed was developed under an agreement between CNES and IMBP, Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow. CNES was responsible for developing and qualifying the Cardiomed system and supplying it to Russia. Research teams at Angers and Tours university hospitals provided scientific support during development and, along with their Russian counterparts, are using medical data collected. Today, CNES is providing technical and operational support to the project.