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Int J Sports Med. 1991 Aug;12(4):369-73.

Relationship of cardiac size to maximal oxygen uptake and body size in men and women.

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Springfield College, MA 01109.


It has been suggested in previous studies that the difference in endurance performance between males and females is related to gender-specific differences in cardiac function. Other studies have not equated males and females for physical condition, and this may have contributed to the findings. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the difference in VO2max in groups of similarly trained males and females was explained by gender differences in cardiac size, fat-free weight (FFW) and hemoglobin concentration [( Hb]). Measurements of VO2max, FFW, [Hb] and cardiac size (LVM) were made on 19 males and 20 females comparable in age and cardiorespiratory capacity. The difference between men and women in LVM accounted for 68.3% of the gender difference in VO2max, and the combination of LVM and FFW accounted for 98.7% of the gender-related difference in VO2max. It was concluded that the gender difference in LVM accounts for a majority of the difference in VO2max in males and females, with other aspects of body size accounting for nearly all the remaining difference. The gender difference in heart size primarily reflects the smaller overall dimensions of women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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