Chest wall mechanics in sustained microgravity

M. Wantier, M. Estenne, Sylvia Verbanck, G. Kim Prisk, M. Paiva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)



We assessed the effects of sustained weightlessness on chest wall mechanics in five astronauts who were studied before, during, and after the 10-day Spacelab D-2 mission (n = 3) and the 180-day Euromir-95 mission (n = 2). We measured flow and pressure at the mouth and rib cage and abdominal volumes during resting breathing and during a relaxation maneuver from midinspiratory capacity to functional residual capacity. Microgravity produced marked and consistent changes (Delta) in the contribution of the abdomen to tidal volume [Delta Vab/(Delta Vab + Delta Vrc), where Vab is abdominal volume and Vrc is rib cage volume], which increased from 30.7 +/- 3.5 (SE)% at 1 G head-to-foot acceleration to 58.3 +/- 5.7% at 0 G head-to-foot acceleration (P <0.005). Values of Delta Vab/(Delta Vab + Delta Vrc) did not change significantly during the 180 days of the Euromir mission, but in the two subjects Delta Vab/(Delta Vab + Delta Vrc) was greater on postflight day 1 than on subsequent postflight days or preflight. In the two subjects who produced satisfactory relaxation maneuvers, the slope of the Konno-Mead plot decreased in microgravity; this decrease was entirely accounted for by an increase in abdominal compliance because rib cage compliance did not change. These alterations are similar to those previously reported during short periods of weightlessness inside aircrafts flying parabolic trajectories. They are also qualitatively similar to those observed on going from upright to supine posture; however, in contrast to microgravity, such postural change reduces rib cage compliance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2060-2065
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998


  • spaceflight
  • zero gravity
  • abdominal compliance
  • rib cage compliance


Dive into the research topics of 'Chest wall mechanics in sustained microgravity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this