TABLE 3–1 In-Flight Medical Events for U.S. Astronauts During the Space Shuttle Program (STS-1 through STS-89, April 1981 to January 1998)

Medical Event or System by ICD-9a Category

Number

Percent

Incidence/14 days

Space adaptation syndrome

788

42.2

2.48

Nervous system and sense organs

318

17.0

1.00

Digestive system

163

8.7

0.52

Skin and subcutaneous tissue

151

8.1

0.48

Injuries or trauma

141

7.6

0.44

Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue

132

7.1

0.42

Respiratory system

83

4.4

0.26

Behavioral signs and symptoms

34

1.8

0.11

Infectious diseases

26

1.4

0.08

Genitourinary system

23

1.2

0.07

Circulatory system

6

0.3

0.02

Endocrine, nutritional, metabolic, and immunity disorders

2

0.1

0.01

aInternational Classification of Diseases, 9th edition.

SOURCE: Billica, 2000.

data are extrapolated to extended space travel or habitation, the psychosocial support needs may well be just as important as the medical needs in a long-duration space mission.

The medical reasons for submarine evacuations from 1993 to 1996 varied (Table 3–6). The largest number of conditions requiring medical evacuation are trauma and “other” (miscellaneous). It should be noted, however, that psychiatric reasons rank second in the specific categories. The “other” category most likely consists of large numbers of unrelated clinical conditions, further reinforcing the diversity of clinical conditions that can be expected to occur during a space mission. Factors such as astronaut age and medical prescreening would affect the incidence of medical emergencies among the members of the space crew, but since prescreening for most conditions cannot be done, it is possible that similar disorders and the proportions of those disorders that could occur among the members of a space crew would be similar to those that occur among individuals on submarine missions.



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