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Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Mar;7(2):222-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.113.001345. Epub 2014 Jan 27.

Morphological and functional adaptation of left and right atria induced by training in highly trained female athletes.

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1
Departments of Cardiovascular Diseases.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exercise is able to induce atrial remodeling in top-level athletes. However, evidence is mainly limited to men and based on cross-sectional studies. The aim of this prospective, longitudinal study was to investigate whether exercise is able to influence left and right atrial morphology and function also in female athletes. :ETHODS AND RESULTS- Two-dimensional echocardiography was performed before season and after 16 weeks of intensive training in 24 top-level female athletes. Left and right atrial myocardial deformation was assessed by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography. Left atrial volume index (24.0±3.6 versus 26.7±6.9 mL/m(2); P<0.001) and right atrial volume index (15.66±3.09 versus 20.47±4.82 mL/m(2); P<0.001) significantly increased after training in female athletes. Left atrial global peak atrial longitudinal strain and peak atrial contraction strain significantly decreased after training in female athletes (43.9±9.5% versus 39.8±6.5%; P<0.05 and 15.5±4.0% versus 13.9±4.0%; P<0.05, respectively). Right atrial peak atrial longitudinal strain and peak atrial contraction strain showed a similar, although non-significant decrease (42.8±10.6% versus 39.3±8.3%; 15.6±5.6% versus 13.1±6.1%, respectively). Neither biventricular E/e' ratio nor biatrial stiffness changed after training, suggesting that biatrial remodeling occurs in a model of volume rather than pressure overload.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exercise is able to induce biatrial morphological and functional changes in female athletes. Biatrial enlargement, with normal filling pressures and low atrial stiffness, is a typical feature of the heart of female athletes. These findings should be interpreted as physiological adaptations to exercise and should be considered in the differential diagnosis with cardiomyopathies.

KEYWORDS:

athlete’s heart syndrome; atrial function; atrial remodeling; echocardiography; speckle tracking; women

PMID:
24470314
DOI:
10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.113.001345
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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