CT scan­ner maps po­ten­tial prob­lems inside space­suit

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

The empty space­suit that sat on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble in a lab at Hous­ton Methodist Hos­pi­tal’s re­search in­sti­tute made for an un­usual pa­tient.

The space gear ended up in the state-of-the-art re­search lab after NASA sought in­no­va­tive ways to pin­point prob­lems with its suits in the wake of an Ital­ian astro­naut nearly drown­ing in his hel­met dur­ing a 2013 space­walk on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. It hap­pened when de­bris clogged a pump mech­a­nism inside his space­suit.

NASA hopes the lab’s ad­vanced imag­ing equip­ment, in­clud­ing a CT scan­ner at­tached to a ro­botic arm, can help cre­ate 3-D pic­tures of its space­suits that can be used to bet­ter di­ag­nose mal­func­tions.

Luca Par­mi­tano, the Ital­ian astro­naut who sur­vived the har­row­ing space­suit ex­pe­ri­ence, told the As­so­ci­ated Press that the work NASA and the hos­pi­tal are do­ing is a step for­ward in pre­vent­ing oth­ers from go­ing through what he faced.

The imag­ing tech­nol­ogy was demon­strated at “Pumps & Pipes,” an an­nual con­fer­ence that brings three of Hous­ton’s big­gest in­dus­tries— medicine, en­ergy and aero­space— to­gether to dis­cuss tech­nolo­gies that could be shared by the fields.

Dr. Alan Lums­den, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vas­cu­lar Cen­ter who led the demon­stra­tion, told the AP that the tech­niques used in en­dovas­cu­lar surgery to ex­am­ine prob­lems with blood ves­sels are the same meth­ods that can di­ag­nose fu­ture prob­lems with space­suits.


Ital­ian astro­naut Luca Par­mi­tano, who sur­vived a space­suit malfunction, at­tended the demon­stra­tion at which a NASA space­suit was scanned last week.

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