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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Feedback control of mean aortic pressure in a dynamic model of the cardiovascular system.

Orbital measurements of the cardiac function of Space Shuttle crew members have shown an initial increase in cardiac stroke volume upon entry into weightlessness, followed by a gradual reduction in stroke volume to a level approximately 15% less than preflight values. In an effort to explain this response, it was hypothesized that gravity plays a role in cardiac filling. A mock circulatory system was designed to investigate this effect. Preliminary studies carried out with this system on the NASA KC-135 aircraft, which provides brief periods of weightlessness, showed a strong correlation between cardiac filling, stroke volume, and the presence or absence of gravity. The need for extended periods of high quality zero gravity was identified to verify this observation. To accomplish this, the aircraft version of the experiment was reduced in size and fully automated for eventual integration into a Get Away Special canister to conduct an orbital version of the experiment. This article describes the automated system, as well as the development and implementation of a control algorithm for the servoregulation of the mean aortic pressure in the orbital experiment. Three nonlinearities that influence the ability of the apparatus to regulate to a mean aortic pressure of 95 mm Hg were identified and minimized. In preparation for a Space Shuttle flight, the successful function of the servoregulatory scheme was demonstrated during ground tests and additional test flights aboard the KC-135. The control algorithm was successful in carrying out the experimental protocol, including regulation of mean aortic pressure. The algorithm could also be used for the automated operation of long-term tests of circulatory support systems, which may require a scheduled cycling of the pumping conditions on a daily basis.[1]


  1. Feedback control of mean aortic pressure in a dynamic model of the cardiovascular system. O'Leary, D.S., Pantalos, G.M., Sharp, M.K. ASAIO journal (American Society for Artificial Internal Organs : 1992) (1999) [Pubmed]
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