Publication Details

Eiken, O., Keramidas, M. E., Taylor, N. A.S.. & Grönkvist, M. (2017). Intraocular pressure and cerebral oxygenation during prolonged headward acceleration. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (1), 61-72.


Purpose Supra-tolerance head-to-foot directed gravitoinertial load (+Gz) typically induces a sequence of symptoms/ signs, including loss of: peripheral vision—central vision— consciousness. The risk of unconsciousness is greater when anti-G-garment failure occurs after prolonged rather than brief exposures, presumably because, in the former condition, mental signs are not consistently preceded by impaired vision. The aims were to investigate if prolonged exposure to moderately elevated +Gz reduces intraocular pressure (IOP; i.e., improves provisions for retinal perfusion), or the cerebral anoxia reserve. Methods Subjects were exposed to 4-min +Gz plateaux either at 2 and 3 G (n = 10), or at 4 and 5 G (n = 12). Measurements included eye-level mean arterial pressure (MAP), oxygenation of the cerebral frontal cortex, and at 2 and 3 G, IOP. Results IOP was similar at 1 (14.1 ± 1.6 mmHg), 2 (14.0 ± 1.6 mmHg), and 3 G (14.0 ± 1.6 mmHg). During the G exposures, MAP exhibited an initial prompt drop followed by a partial recovery, end-exposure values being reduced by ≤30 mmHg. Cerebral oxygenation showed a similar initial drop, but without recovery, and was followed by either a plateau or a further slight decrement to a minimum of about −14 μM. Conclusion Gz loading did not affect IOP. That cerebral oxygenation remained suppressed throughout these G exposures, despite a concomitant partial recovery of MAP, suggests that the increased risk of unconsciousness upon G-garment failure after prolonged +Gz exposure is due to reduced cerebral anoxia reserve.



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