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Int J Sports Med. 2012 Sep;33(9):734-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1301315. Epub 2012 May 11.

Stroke volume does not plateau in female endurance athletes.

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  • 1Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.


It has been a long-lasting debate whether the heart's stroke volume (SV) increases at high aerobic intensities or plateau. Further, sex and level of aerobic power are shown to influence the response. The purpose of this study was to investigate the SV at increasing intensities in elite female athletes and moderately trained females. 13 elite athletes and 11 moderately trained controls with maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2max)) of 67.1 ± 6.1 and 49.5 ± 2.3 mL ∙ min (- 1) ∙ kg (- 1), respectively, were recruited. SV was measured at rest, and running on a treadmill at 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% of VO(2max) using the single breath acetylene uptake (SB) technique. Both groups showed a significant (p<0.05) increase in SV from 40% of VO2max to VO(2max), with increases from 105.3 ± 19.0 to 129.1 ± 16.3 mL∙ beat(-1) for the elite females and from 68.7 ± 21.7 to 82.7 ± 14.0 mL ∙ beat (- 1) for the moderately trained. No differences were observed between groups in these increases, but the elite athletes displayed a larger (p<0.05) SV at all intensities. It is concluded that the SV increases at high aerobic intensities both in elite athlete females and moderately trained females.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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