Earth based simulations of physiologic responses to space mission activities are needed to develop prospective countermeasures. To determine whether upright lower body positive pressure (LBPP) provides a suitable space mission simulation, we investigated cardiovascular responses of normovolemic and hypovolemic, men and women, to supine and orthostatic stress, induced by head-up tilt (HUT) and upright LBPP, representing standing in lunar, Martian and Earth’s gravities.
Six men and six women were tested in normovolemic and hypovolemic (furosemide, intravenous, 0.5 mg/kg) conditions. Continuous electrocardiogram, blood pressure, segmental bioimpedance and stroke volume (echocardiography) were recorded supine and at lunar, Martian and Earth’s gravities (10°, 20°, 80° HUT vs. 20%, 40%, 100% body weight upright LBPP), respectively. Cardiovascular responses were assessed from mean values, spectral powers and spontaneous baroreflex parameters.
Hypovolemia reduced plasma volume by ~10% and stroke volume by ~25% at supine and increasing orthostatic stress resulted in further reductions. Upright LBPP induced more plasma volume losses at simulated lunar and Martian gravities compared with HUT, while both techniques induced comparable central hypovolemia at each stress. Cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress were comparable between HUT and upright LBPP in both normovolemic and hypovolemic conditions, however, hypovolemic blood pressure was greater during standing at 100% body weight compared to 80° HUT due to a greater increase of total peripheral resistance.
HUT and upright LBPP induced comparable cardiovascular responses, supporting the use of upright LBPP as a potential model to simulate activity in lunar and Martian gravities.