Patient monitoring, cardiology  

Space Shuttle astronauts' health on space walks monitored with GE technology

20 July 2005

Houston, Texas, USA. When the delayed Space Shuttle Discovery finally launches, the health of the astronauts will be monitored in real time during the space walks. The Shuttle was originally due to take off on 13 July, but has been delayed by a problem with fuel sensors and has until the end of the month to meet a launch window.

During space walks on the Discovery mission, the astronauts' cardiac information will be picked up by GE Healthcare's advanced heart monitors and transmitted in real-time to Mission Control Center (MCC). There it will be monitored, analyzed, and transmitted using GE's digital communications network, which will allow a report of the astronauts' cardiac performance to be generated and delivered to NASA flight surgeons. NASA flight surgeons will then assess and benchmark the function of astronauts' hearts during each space walk. The data also will be included in the astronauts' official electronic medical records (EMRs).

The health information obtained will enable the flight surgeons to monitor and track the health of the astronauts and to share the information with discipline experts potentially located outside NASA's MCC. The sharing of real-time clinical information is important, as it will allow all clinicians within the NASA surgeon network to remotely review and consult, as needed on the astronauts' health data.

"This particular application of our technology illustrates the value and potential of telemedicine for physicians. Using GE's state-of-the-art patient monitoring software, physicians will be able to effectively read, monitor, and analyze patient information from many miles away," said Omar Ishrak, president and CEO of Clinical Systems for GE Healthcare.

GE's clinical monitoring technologies have been used during recent NASA missions. In addition, GE's clinical monitoring technologies have been used by NASA to simulate potential medical situations in space more accurately, allowing flight surgeons to better prepare for dealing with medical emergencies in space.

"We're continuing our working relationship with NASA to identify potential medical devices and systems for future use on the International Space Station, and possible use on lunar or Mars-based missions," said Ishrak.

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