oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - The anaesthetic management of microgravity-exposed individuals : review article

Volume 19, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



Mankind's imminent occupation of low Earth orbit beyond that of a scientific outpost and daring engineering nature that will land astronauts on Mars, will pose significant challenges to anaesthesia providers. The increased number of space tourists and workers who spend extended periods in zero gravity will present with surgical disease, either in orbit or shortly after return to Earth. A thorough understanding of the physiological changes to which these individuals are susceptible, as well as the effects of anaesthetic agents on this relatively unknown population, is warranted. By actively participating and informing ourselves of the future of space medicine, we will lay the groundwork for an entirely new field of medicine. This article provides a succinct overview of some of these physiological challenges and casts light on some of the anaesthetic and surgical concerns pertaining to space flight. It aims to pique the interest of the reader at a time when privatisation of the space race and space tourism by British and American entrepreneurs is providing new frontiers for anaesthetic science to explore.

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