Evidence for increased cardiac compliance during exposure to simulated microgravity

Steven C. Koenig, Victor A. Convertino, John W. Fanton, Craig A. Reister, F. Andrew Gaffney, David A. Ludwig, Vladimir P. Krotov, Eugene V. Trambovetsky, Rickey D. Latham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We measured hemodynamic responses during 4 days of head-down tilt (HDT) and during graded lower body negative pressure (LBNP) in invasively instrumented rhesus monkeys to test the hypotheses that exposure to simulated microgravity increases cardiac compliance and that decreased stroke volume, cardiac output, and orthostatic tolerance are associated with reduced left ventricular peak dP/dt. Six monkeys underwent two 4-day (96 h) experimental conditions separated by 9 days of ambulatory activities in a crossover counterbalance design: 1) continuous exposure to 10°HDT and 2) ~12-14 h per day of 80°head-up tilt and 10-12 h supine (control condition). Each animal underwent measurements of central venous pressure (CVP), left ventricular and aortic pressures, stroke volume, esophageal pressure (EsP), plasma volume, α1- and β1-adrenergic responsiveness, and tolerance to LBNP. HDT induced a hypovolemic and hypoadrenergic state with reduced LBNP tolerance compared with the control condition. Decreased LBNP tolerance with HDT was associated with reduced stroke volume, cardiac output, and peak dP/dt. Compared with the control condition, a 34% reduction in CVP (P = 0.010) and no change in left ventricular end-diastolic area during HDT was associated with increased ventricular compliance (P = 0.0053). Increased cardiac compliance could not be explained by reduced intrathoracic pressure since EsP was unaltered by HDT. Our data provide the first direct evidence that increased cardiac compliance was associated with headward fluid shifts similar to those induced by exposure to spaceflight and that reduced orthostatic tolerance was associated with lower cardiac contractility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1343-R1352
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 44-4
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Adrenergic function
  • Blood pressure
  • Central venous pressure
  • Head-down tilt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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