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