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Przegl Lek. 2006;63(2):53-7.

[Echocardiographic picture of Polish Olympic Team--Athens 2004].

[Article in Polish]

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Katedra i Klinika Kardiologii, II Wydział Lekarski Akademii Medycznej w Warszawie.


Echocardiography is the basic, non-invasive diagnostic method in assessment of heart's structure and function in elite athletes. The aim of a study was to assess the heart's structure and function of Olympic-class athletes, enduring intensive training in log-term. An attempt was also made to compare types of physiological heart hypertrophy after extreme physical exercise load depending on gender and sport discipline.


79 athletes (24 women and 55 men) aged 19-37 (median of 26) took part in the study, they represented wide range of sports. In all cases single transthoracic echocardiography was performed. Body surface area was considered for better comparison of outcomes.


High percentage of results exceeded echocardiographic norms for general population. In case of LVEDd (left ventricle end diastolic diameter) it was 27.8% of examined, for LA (left atrium) 32.9%, for RV (right ventricle) 84.8%, 53.2% for IVSd (interventricle sept diameter) and 11.4% for Ao (aorta diameter). Some of results exceeded also norms used in sport medicine. In 6.3% examined "sport" norms for IVSd were exceeded and in 19.9% for LV relative wall thickness (RWT). Higher than trace mitral valve insufficiency was observed in 6.3% cases, while in tricuspid valve this fraction reached 25%. Only in males the trace aortic insufficiency was observed (7% of all examined). 53% examined exceeded norm's range for E/A proportion (E/A >2). Significant differences in adaptive heart hypertrophy were observed between men and women and between athletes from sport disciplines with different static exertion load. These differences included both morphology and valve function.


(1) Adaptive heart hypertrophy observed in echocardiography in Olympic-class athletes exceeds not only the norms for general population but also norms used in sport medicine. (2) Adaptive heart hypertrophy in female elite athletes leads to more eccentric type of remodelling then in men. (3) High static exertion load in performed sport is connected with concentric type of heart remodelling and with significant differences in systolic and diastolic parameters. (4) Considering body surface area allows a proper comparing of morphologic parameters between different genders and athletes practicing different sport disciplines.

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