Frequent premature ventricular contractions in an orbital spaceflight participant

Richard T. Jennings, Jan P. Stepaenek, Luis R. Scott, Yury I. Voronkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Commercial spaceflight participants on orbital flights typically are older than career astronauts and they often have medical conditions that have not been studied at high g or in microgravity. This is a case report of a 56-yr-old orbital spaceflight participant with essential tremor and frequent premature ventricular contractions that occurred at rates up to 7000 per day. Before training and spaceflight, he was required to complete extensive clinical investigations to demonstrate normal cardiac structures and the absence of cardiac pathology. The evaluation included signal averaged ECG, transthoracic stress echocardiography, exercise tolerance tests, electrophysiological studies, cardiac MRi, electron beam CT, Holter monitoring, and overnight oximetry. While no cardiac pathology was demonstrated, the Russian medical team required that the PVCs be treated prior to training and spaceflight. For the initial flight, a selective beta-1 receptor beta blocker was used and for the second a calcium channel blocker was used in combination with a nonselective beta blocker for tremor control. Analogue environment testing assured that this combination of medications was compatible. Conclusion: The spaceflight participant's PVCs were incompletely suppressed with a low-dose selective beta-1 blocker, but were well suppressed by a calcium channel blocker. He tolerated in-flight periodic use of a nonselective beta blocker in combination with a calcium channel blocker, in-flight ECG and blood pressure monitoring results were normal, and an ECG obtained midmission and on landing day showed successful PVC suppression. He did not have any cardiac difficulty with launch, on-orbit operations, entry, or recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-601
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Orbital spaceflight
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Pvcs
  • Spaceflight participant
  • Ventricular ectopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequent premature ventricular contractions in an orbital spaceflight participant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this