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UofL researchers take on Zero-Gs for NASA

Take a look inside NASA's Zero-G Aircraft, designed to simulate a weightless environment by maneuvering between set altitudes. This is where Dr. George Pantalos, a Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at the University of Louisville, and his research team look for effective ways to treat heart attacks in space.

Dr. George Pantalos

"We try to understand the concept of CPR, how it works on the ground and look at how gravity is participating. We take for granted that when we press on the sternum the reason we do that is gravity is holding us down to the ground. It's keeping the victim on the ground. The weight of the body is using gravity to deliver the compression."

Pantalos, Keith Sharp from the Speed School of Engineering and two UofL graduate students are studying different approaches to performing CPR on a victim on a manned space flight.

Pantalos continues

"We work with a CPR mannequin with sensors to measure the force and depth of the compression."

Four methods were tested. One called a reverse Heimlich, or Bear Hug, proved to be the easiest to use in zero gravity. The research brings engineering and medicine together.

Pantalos adds

"You have to understand the physics present in weightlessness. You have to understand the physiology of a chest compression, which is to try to generate blood flow into circulation."

The Hearts in Space Program at UofL is in its 20th year.

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