Anaesthesia in outer space: the ultimate ambulatory setting?


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewMissions to the Moon or more distant planets are planned in the next future, and will push back the limits of our experience in providing medical support in remote environments. Medical preparedness is ongoing, and involves planning for emergency surgical interventions and anaesthetic procedures. This review will summarize what principles of ambulatory anaesthesia on Earth could benefit the environment of a space mission with its unique constraints.Recent findingsAmbulatory anaesthesia relies on several principles such as improved patient pathway, correct patient selection, optimized procedural strategies to hasten recovery and active prevention of postoperative complications. Severe limitations in the equipment available and the skills of the crew members represent the key factors to be taken into account when designing the on-board medical system for future interplanetary space missions.SummaryThe application of some of the key principles of ambulatory anaesthesia, as well as recent advances in anaesthetic techniques and better understanding of human adaptation to the space environment might allow nonanaesthesiologist physicians to perform common anaesthetic procedures, whilst maximizing crew safety and minimizing the impact of medical events on the mission.

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