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Use of Short-Radius Centrifugation to Augment Ankle-Brachial Indices
  1. S. Marlene Grenon, MDCM*†‡,
  2. Jaime Mateus, SM,
  3. York Hsiang, MD*,
  4. Ravi Sidhu, MD,
  5. Laurence Young, ScD,
  6. Joel Gagnon, MD*
  1. From the *Department of Vascular Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; †Man-Vehicle Laboratory, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; and ‡Department of Vascular Surgery, St. Pauls Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  1. Received November 8, 2008, and in revised form February 18, 2009.
  2. Accepted for publication February 18, 2009.
  3. Reprints: S. Marlene Grenon, MDCM, Department of Vascular Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, 2775, Laurel St, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 1M9. E-mail: smgrenon{at}
  4. Supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA NCC 9-58.


Background Peripheral arterial disease is mainly caused by atherosclerosis and is characterized by decreased circulation, lower blood pressure, and insufficient tissue perfusion in the lower extremities. The hemodynamics of standing and altered gravity environments have been well studied relative to arm blood pressures but are less well understood for ankle pressures.

Methods Because regional blood pressure depends, in part, on the gravitational pressure gradient, we hypothesized that artificial gravity exposure on a short-arm centrifuge with the center of rotation above the head would increase blood pressure in the lower extremities. Cardiovascular parameters for 12 healthy subjects were measured during exposure to supine short-arm centrifugation at 20, 25, and 30 revolutions per minute (rpm), corresponding to centripetal accelerations of 0.94, 1.47, and 2.11 Gz at the foot level, respectively.

Results Systolic ankle blood pressure significantly increased at all levels of centrifugation. Ankle-brachial indices (the ratio of systolic ankle to arm blood pressures) increased significantly from 1.17 ± 0.03 to 1.58 ± 0.03 at 0.94 Gz (P < 0.005), 1.74 ± 0.02 at 1.47 Gz (P < 0.005), and 1.89 ± 0.06 at 2.11 Gz (P < 0.005). Systolic arm blood pressure significantly increased at 2.11 Gz, but heart rate did not change significantly. All parameters returned to normal after cessation of centrifugation.

Conclusions We demonstrated that short-radius centrifugation leads to an increase in ankle-brachial indices. This could have potential implications for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease.

Key Words
  • blood pressure
  • artificial gravity
  • ankle-brachial index
  • short-arm centrifuge

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