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Blood Press. 2004;13(1):14-9.

Left ventricular hypertrophy differences in male professional runners and in young patients suffering from mild hypertension.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Disease, Section of Cardiology, University of Siena.



This study was executed to evaluate left ventricular (LV) geometry, diastolic and systolic function assessed by B- and M-mode and pulsed Doppler echocardiography in a group of professional sprinter runners (group I), in young patients suffering from mild hypertension (group II) and in control young adults (group III). Twenty-one male sprinter runners were checked during a period of training and compared with 19 young patients suffering from mild hypertension and 15 healthy controls matched for gender and body size.


LV septum thickness, LV posterior wall thickness, LV ejection fraction, LV shortening fraction, midwall fractional shortening and stroke volume were significantly higher in runners compared to hypertensive patients and controls (p < 0.001). A significant increase of diastolic function parameters of the early peak flow velocity, E, and the early/late diastolic wave ratio, E/A, and in the isovolumic relaxation time or in the E velocity deceleration time wave was observed in hypertensive patients when compared to runners and controls (p < 0.05). The study of the pulmonary venous flow revealed a significant increase in the early systolic flow velocity, S, in hypertensive patients compared to runners (p < 0.05); the late diastolic flow velocity, D, appeared to be similar in all groups, while atrial backward flow velocity, Ar, was higher in group I and II respect to control (p < 0.001).


Our data indicate that LV concentric hypertrophy in sportsmen is associated with improvement of systolic and diastolic performance, whereas diastolic dysfunction can occurs even in the early stages of hypertension in young patients, in whom an alteration in the LV filling appears even in absence of systolic dysfunction and evident concentric myocardial hypertrophy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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