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GE's cardiovascular ultrasound to board the Atlantis

GE's cardiovascular ultrasound to board the Atlantis

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The Vivid q will help assess the impact of long space flight on astronauts and their hearts on the International Space Station.

This is your heart. In space.

NASA has selected GE Healthcare’s Vivid q Cardiovascular Ultrasound to use on board the International Space Station.

The laptop-sized diagnostic system is hitching a ride on the Atlantis during the final space shuttle flight, which should be launching tomorrow.

The Vivid q is designed for cardiovascular imaging and assessing cardiac performance. And for NASA, not only will the customized Vivid q be used for general crew health assessment, it will also be used specifically to help assess the impact of long spaceflight on astronauts and their hearts. These research investigations include:

NASA plans to replace and upgrade a decade-old ultrasound unit that stopped operating earlier this year in the Human Research Facility. And the panoramic scan feature offered by the Vivid q is a capability NASA has never had before… in space.

Back on earth, the Vivid q is helping researchers around the world to better understand space travel:

  • A European Space Agency experiment called Vascular Echography will use the device to evaluate changes in blood vessel wall properties, such as thickness and compliance, of astronauts during and after long-term exposure to microgravity.
  • The device may also be used in NASA’s New Millennium Observatory Network (NeMO Net) extreme mission operation for underwater space simulation. NeMO Net’s instruments are located in a submarine volcano, one mile underwater and 300 miles offshore of Oregon.

“We are excited that the Vivid q’s exceptional imaging capabilities will also now support NASA’s important research in space flight and the impact of space travel on the human physiology,” says GE Healthcare’s Al Lojewski.

Via GE press.

Image: GE Healthcare

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Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure