Systematic review of the use of ultrasound for venous assessment and venous thrombosis screening in spaceflight

Antoine Elias*, Tobias Weber, David A. Green, Katie M. Harris, Jonathan M. Laws, Danielle K. Greaves, David S. Kim, Lucia Mazzolai-Duchosal, Lara Roberts, Lonnie G. Petersen, Ulrich Limper, Andrej Bergauer, Michael Elias, Andrew Winnard, Nandu Goswami

*Corresponding author for this work

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The validity of venous ultrasound (V-US) for the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during spaceflight is unknown and difficult to establish in diagnostic accuracy and diagnostic management studies in this context. We performed a systematic review of the use of V-US in the upper-body venous system in spaceflight to identify microgravity-related changes and the effect of venous interventions to reverse them, and to assess appropriateness of spaceflight V-US with terrestrial standards. An appropriateness tool was developed following expert panel discussions and review of terrestrial diagnostic studies, including criteria relevant to crew experience, in-flight equipment, assessment sites, ultrasound modalities, and DVT diagnosis. Microgravity-related findings reported as an increase in internal jugular vein (IJV) cross-sectional area and pressure were associated with reduced, stagnant, and retrograde flow. Changes were on average responsive to venous interventions using lower body negative pressure, Bracelets, Valsalva and Mueller manoeuvres, and contralateral IJV compression. In comparison with terrestrial standards, spaceflight V-US did not meet all appropriateness criteria. In DVT studies (n = 3), a single thrombosis was reported and only ultrasound modality criterion met the standards. In the other studies (n = 15), all the criteria were appropriate except crew experience criterion, which was appropriate in only four studies. Future practice and research should account for microgravity-related changes, evaluate individual effect of venous interventions, and adopt Earth-based V-US standards.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages17
Journalnpj Microgravity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2024

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