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Clin Chem. 1997 Jun;43(6 Pt 1):1056-65.

Assessment of a portable clinical blood analyzer during space flight.

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  • 1Life Sciences Research Laboratories, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA.


This study was designed to validate the utility of a commercial portable clinical blood analyzer (PCBA) in ground-based studies and on the space shuttle. Ionized calcium, pH, electrolytes, glucose, and hematocrit were determined. Results agreed well with those from traditional laboratory methods, and the PCBA demonstrated good between-day precision for all analytes. In-flight analysis of control samples revealed differences in one analyte (sodium). There were few changes in crew members' results during flight, and these were expected. Potassium increased in flight compared with before flight, and potassium, pH, and hematocrit decreased after flight. Ionized calcium was decreased in flight and on landing day. Changes during flight were likely related to sample collection technique. Postflight changes likely reflected the fluid redistribution that occurs after exposure to weightlessness. These data confirm that the PCBA is a reliable instrument for most analytes, and can provide important medical data in remote locations, such as orbiting spacecraft.

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