Internal Jugular Vein Volume During Head-Down Tilt and Carbon Dioxide Exposure in the SPACECOT Study

Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018 Apr 1;89(4):351-356. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.4934.2018.


Background: Cerebral hemodynamics and venous outflow from the brain may be altered during exposure to microgravity or head-down tilt (HDT), an analog of microgravity, as well as by increased ambient CO2 exposure as experienced on the International Space Station.

Methods: Six healthy subjects underwent baseline tilt table testing at 0°, 6°, 12°, 18°, 24°, and 30° HDT. The right internal jugular (IJ) vein cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured at four intervals from the submandibular to the clavicular level and IJ volume was calculated. Further measurements of the IJ vein were made after ∼26 h of 12° HDT bed rest with either ambient air or 0.5% CO2 exposure, and plasma and blood volume were assessed after 4 h, 24 h, and 28.5 h HDT.

Results: IJ vein CSA and volume increased with progressively steeper HDT angles during baseline tilt table testing, with more prominent filling of the IJ vein at levels closer to the clavicle. Exposure to 26 h of 12° HDT bed rest with or without increased CO2, however, had little additional effect on the IJ vein. Further, bed rest resulted in a decrease in plasma volume and blood volume, although changes did not depend on atmospheric conditioning or correlate directly with changes in IJ vein CSA or volume.

Discussion: The hydrostatic effects of HDT can be clearly determined through measurement of the IJ vein CSA and volume; however, IJ vein dimensions may not be a reliable indicator of systemic fluid status during bed rest.Marshall-Goebel K, Stevens B, Rao CV, Suarez JI, Calvillo E, Arbeille P, Sangi-Haghpeykar H, Donoviel DB, Mulder E, Bershad EM, the SPACECOT Investigators Group. Internal jugular vein volume during head-down tilt and carbon dioxide exposure in the SPACECOT Study. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018; 89(4):351-356.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Head-Down Tilt / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Jugular Veins / physiology*
  • Male
  • Space Flight
  • Ultrasonography
  • Weightlessness
  • Weightlessness Simulation


  • Carbon Dioxide