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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2005 Jun;94(3):305-9. Epub 2005 Mar 12.

Cardiac drift during prolonged exercise with echocardiographic evidence of reduced diastolic function of the heart.

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Centre for Clinical and Biophysical Research in Human Movement, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hassall Road, Alsager, ST7 2HL, UK.


This study examined whether, in 16 male subjects, a continuous increase in heart rate (HR) during 4 h of ergometry cycling relates to cardiac fatigue or cardiomyocyte damage. Serum cardiac troponin T (cTnT) was determined and echocardiographic assessment was carried out prior to and after 2 h of exercise, within 15 min of completing exercise and after 24 h. Left ventricular contractile function (end-systolic blood pressure-volume relationship [SBP/ESV]) and diastolic filling (ratio of early to late peak left ventricular filling velocities [E:A]) were calculated. During exercise HR was 132+/-5 beats min(-1) after 2 h and increased to 141+/-5 beats min(-1) (mean +/- SD; P<0.05), but there was no evidence of altered LV contractile function (SBP/ESV 39.0+/-5.1 mmHg cm(-1) to 36.5+/-5.2 mmHg cm(-1) and SBP/ESV was not correlated to maximal oxygen uptake (r(2)=0.363). In contrast, E:A decreased (1.82+/-0.32 to 1.48+/-0.30; P<0.05) and returned towards baseline after 24 h (1.78+/-0.28), and individual changes were correlated to maximal oxygen uptake (r(2)=0.61; P<0.05). Low levels of cTnT were detected in two subjects after 4 h of exercise that had normalised by 24 h of recovery. During prolonged exercise cardiovascular drift occurred with echocardiographic signs of a reduced diastolic function of the heart, especially in those subjects with a high maximal oxygen uptake.

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