6
$\begingroup$

What would be the specific long term and short term outcomes of slashing wounds in microgravity?

The scenario is that a normal adult is slashed with a knife in a microgravity environment. Assume standard atmospheric pressure and normal atmospheric composition. Assume that the injury cuts through skin and moderate amounts of muscle. Assume the wound is taken on a thigh (ample musculature).

For instance:

A lack of gravity experienced during space flight has been shown to have profound effects on human physiology including muscle atrophy, reductions in bone density and immune function, and endocrine disorders (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcell.2020.00096/full).

Weightlessness is associated with blood flow stasis in internal veins. Blood flow stasis could lead to a lack of clotting materials and nutrients for normal healing ([https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.syfy.com/syfy-wire/human-blood-acts-weird-in-zero-g%3famp][1])

Microgravity has been shown to be detrimental to wound repair. Astronauts injured in space have a harder time healing. The cells cultured in microgravity and the cells cultured on earth will differ in gene expression. Blood vessel development will be impaired in cells cultured in microgravity (caution pdf) (https://www.google.com/search?q=wound+healing+in+micro+gravity&oq=wound+healing+in+micro+gravity+&aqs=chrome..69i57.17574j0j4&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8)

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It seems like you've collected the resources to answer you own question. We do allow self answers and even encourage it in cases (like this) where you've done research. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 20 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings I'm not a biologist or medical professional. Acquiring materials is one thing synthesis and extrapolation is another. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 at 0:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Important question: Does the wounded person get appropriate medical treatment for the environment? $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman good question! Let's say no. $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 17:10

1 Answer 1

1
$\begingroup$

So, this is a bit of postulation based on what we know from the real world...

First off, despite a certain television program's insistence that gravity is part of the healing process, the effects still happen in an environment where you're neutrally buoyant, e.g. weightless. If you're swimming, a cut will still clot, even though you are neutrally buoyant. Gravity is not a trigger for clotting factors or healing in general.

As to what happens to the blood you bleed, blood is considered a Newtonian fluid, so I imagine it'd behave quite like water. Thank you Chris hadfield for your [water experiments].(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36xhtpw0Lg)

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .