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The role for regional anesthesia in medical emergencies during deep space flight
  1. Julia Scarpa1 and
  2. Christopher L Wu1,2
  1. 1 Department of Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Julia Scarpa, Department of Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY 10065, USA; jus9143{at}


As humanity presses the boundaries of space exploration and prepares for long-term interplanetary travel, including to Mars, advanced planning for the safety and health of the crewmembers requires a multidisciplinary approach. In particular, in the event of a survivable medical emergency requiring an interventional procedure or prolonged pain management, such as traumatic limb injury or rib fracture, anesthetic protocols that are both safe and straightforward to execute must be in place. In this daring discourse, we discuss particular considerations related to the use of regional techniques in space and present the rationale that regional anesthesia techniques may be the safest option in many medical emergencies encountered during prolonged space flight.

  • regional anesthesia
  • emergency medicine
  • analgesia

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Data availability statement

There are no data in this work.

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  • Contributors JS and CLW contributed to the conception, writing, and editing of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests The authors are the primary contributors of both the clinical and aerospace content of this article.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.