Central venous pressure in space

Jay C. Buckey, F. Andrew Gaffney, Lynda D. Lane, Benjamin D. Levine, Donald E. Watenpaugh, Sheryl J. Wright, Clyde W. Yancy, Dan M. Meyer, C. Gunnar Blomqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Gravity affects cardiac filling pressure and intravascular fluid distribution significantly. A major central fluid shift occurs when all hydrostatic gradients are abolished on entry into microgravity (μG). Understanding the dynamics of this shift requires continuous monitoring of cardiac filling pressure; central venous pressure (CVP) measurement is the only feasible means of accomplishing this. We directly measured CVP in three subjects: one aboard the Spacelab Life Sciences-1 space shuttle flight and two aboard the Spacelab Life Sciences-2 space shuttle flight. Continuous CVP measurements, with a 4-Fr catheter, began 4 h before launch and continued into μG. Mean CVP was 8.4 cmH2O seated before flight, 15.0 cmH2O in the supine legs-elevated posture in the shuttle, and 2.5 cmH2O after 10 min in μG. Although CVP decreased, the left ventricular end-diastolic dimension measured by echocardiography increased from a mean of 4.60 cm supine preflight to 4.97 cm within 48 h in μG. These data are consistent with increased cardiac filling early in μG despite a fall in CVP, suggesting that the relationship between CVP and actual transmural left ventricular filling pressure is altered in μG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • gravitation
  • spaceflight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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