The evaluation of upper body muscle activity during the performance of external chest compressions in simulated hypogravity

Rebecca G. Krygiel, Abigail B. Waye, Rafael Reimann Baptista, Gustavo Sandri Heidner, Lucas Rehnberg, Thais Russomano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: This original study evaluated the electromyograph (EMG) activity of four upper body muscles: triceps brachii, erector spinae, upper rectus abdominis, and pectoralis major, while external chest compressions (ECCs) were performed in simulated Martian hypogravity using a Body Suspension Device, counterweight system, and standard full body cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) mannequin. METHOD: 20 young, healthy male subjects were recruited. One hundred compressions divided into four sets, with roughly six seconds between each set to indicate 'ventilation', were performed within approximately a 1.5 minute protocol. Chest compression rate, depth and number were measured along with the subject's heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). RESULTS: All mean values were used in two-tailed t-tests using SPSS to compare +1 Gz values (control) versus simulated hypogravity values. The AHA (2005) compression standards were maintained in hypogravity. RPE and HR increased by 32% (p<0.001) and 44% (p=0.002), respectively, when ECCs were performed during Mars simulation, in comparison to +1 Gz. In hypogravity, the triceps brachii showed significantly less activity (p<0.001) when compared with the other three muscles studied. The comparison of all the other muscles showed no difference at +1 Gz or in hypogravity. CONCLUSIONS: This study was among the first of its kind, however several limitations were faced which hopefully will not exist in future studies. Evaluation of a great number of muscles will allow space crews to focus on specific strengthening exercises within their current training regimes in case of a serious cardiac event in hypogravity. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences in Space Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Electromyography
  • Hypogravity


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