European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 597–608 | Cite as

Gradient compression garments protect against orthostatic intolerance during recovery from bed rest

  • Michael B. Stenger
  • Stuart M. C. Lee
  • L. Christine Ribeiro
  • Tiffany R. Phillips
  • Robert J. Ploutz-Snyder
  • Michael C. Willig
  • Christian M. Westby
  • Steven H. Platts
Original Article



Abdomen-high, lower body graded compression garments (GCGs) may represent the next-generation of orthostatic intolerance protection with applications for exploration missions and commercial space flight.


To evaluate the efficacy of the GCG to prevent orthostatic intolerance after a 14-day 6° head-down tilt bed rest (BR) and to determine whether wearing thigh-high compression garments impairs recovery from BR.


Sixteen (12 M, 4 F) subjects participated in a 15-min 80° head-up tilt test 5 day before BR (BR-5), on the last morning of BR (BR+0), and on day 1 (BR+1) and 3 after BR (BR+3). No subjects wore the GCG on BR-5, and all subjects wore the GCG during testing on BR+0. Control subjects (n = 8) wore the GCG only through testing on BR+0. Treatment subjects (n = 8) wore the GCG on BR+0 and thigh-high garments on BR+1 and BR+2.


No subjects were presyncopal during tilt on BR+0 while wearing the GCG. Despite lower plasma volume index (BR-5: 1.52 ± 0.06, BR+0: 1.32 ± 0.05 l/m2), the tilt-induced increase in heart rate (ΔHR, 17 ± 2 bpm) and decrease in stroke volume (ΔSV, −28 ± 3 ml) on BR+0 were less than on BR-5 (24 ± 2 bpm, −43 ± 4 ml). On BR+1 ΔHR in the control group (33 ± 4 bpm) was higher than in the treatment group (23 ± 2 bpm) but there were no group differences on BR+3.


Wearing the GCG prevented the orthostatic intolerance that is normally present after BR. Thigh-high garments provided protection after BR, and wearing these garments did not impair recovery.


Spaceflight Countermeasure Anti-gravity suit Tilt test Presyncope 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael B. Stenger
    • 1
  • Stuart M. C. Lee
    • 1
  • L. Christine Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Tiffany R. Phillips
    • 1
  • Robert J. Ploutz-Snyder
    • 2
  • Michael C. Willig
    • 3
  • Christian M. Westby
    • 2
  • Steven H. Platts
    • 4
  1. 1.Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering GroupHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Universities Space Research AssociationHoustonUSA
  3. 3.JES TechHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences DivisionNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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