Body Changes In Space: Astronauts Have Detected Blood Clots On The Space Station

An anonymous astronaut on the international space station has developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the jugular vein, according to a new study.

Because of privacy and other reasons, the identity of the astronaut and the exact time of his illness were kept secret, personal identification information was omitted in the case study, only that the astronaut was on a six-month space mission to the space station. After only two months on the station, deep vein thrombosis was detected.


This is the first time a blood clot has been found on an astronaut’s body, and NASA has no established protocol for treating the condition in zero gravity.

Dr. Stephen moll, a professor of medicine at the university of north Carolina at chapel hill school of medicine, is one of the scientists hired by NASA to treat clots.

Moore and NASA physicians agree that blood thinners are the best treatment for astronauts with blood clots, but that astronauts have limited drug options on the space station, which has only a small supply.

When astronauts developed clots, Enoxaparin, a blood thinner, was available in limited doses, and Moore helped NASA decide how to ration the station’s supply to effectively treat deep vein clots while ensuring that astronauts did not run out of the drug on the next space cargo trip.


At present, the astronauts thrombosis injection in heparin for 40 days, in accordance with heparin is the injection of drugs through the skin, the astronauts injection in 43 days of heparin, a batch of pp o shaaban (Apixaban) drugs would be delivered through the supply station, pp sand class is a kind of used to prevent venous thromboembolism and atrial fibrillation stroke of oral anticoagulant drugs.

Treatment for the astronauts’ clots takes more than 90 days, during which time the astronauts will conduct an ultrasound of their own neck under the direction of a radiology team on the ground to closely monitor the clots, while Dr. Mohr communicates with astronaut patients by email and phone. The astronaut completed a six-month mission to the space station and returned to earth without treatment for a blood clot.

Ironically, the astronaut didn’t have any symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis until he performed an ultrasound of the neck to analyze how the body redistributes fluids in weightlessness. Researchers at the university of north Carolina say without the test, no one knows what the consequences of a neck clot might be in space.

More research is needed into how blood and blood clots behave in space, Moore said. Is it common in the bodies of space station astronauts? How to minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis? Should the international space station be equipped with more medicine? All of these questions need to be answered, especially given that astronauts will be on longer missions to the moon and Mars.