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Int J Cardiol. 2015 Feb 1;180:171-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.11.125. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

The impact of elevated blood pressure on exercise capacity in elite athletes.

Author information

1
Institute of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia; Serbian Institute of Sport and Sports Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia.
2
University Clinical Center "Dr. Dragisa Misovic-Dedinje", Belgrade, Serbia. Electronic address: jsuzic@yahoo.com.
3
University Clinical Center "Zvezdara", Belgrade, Serbia; School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia.
4
Serbian Institute of Sport and Sports Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia.
5
School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia.
6
Institute of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia.
7
Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.
8
University Clinical Center "Zemun", Belgrade, Serbia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Hypertension is one of the most prevalent cardiovascular disorders in athletes. The aims of our study were to assess the impact of elevated blood pressure (BP) on exercise capacity in athletes and evaluate the differences in left ventricular structure and function.

METHODS:

Elite male athletes (n=517, aged 23±5years) underwent Doppler echocardiography with tissue Doppler imaging. Diastolic function was assessed by measuring peak early and late transmitral (E and A) and annular diastolic filling velocities (e' and a'). Maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed to measure maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT) and heart rate reserve (HRR). After BP measurement, they were grouped according to the ESH/ESC guidelines on: optimal (OBP), normal (NBP), high normal BP (HNBP), and hypertensive (HT).

RESULTS:

We found significantly lower VO2max, VAT and HRR in the groups with HNBP and HT, after the adjustment for the type of sport, body fat content and age. There was an increasing trend in resting HR among groups (p<0.001). Although none of the subjects had impaired diastolic function, the HT group had higher left atrial volume, and lower e' and e'/a'. Resting systolic BP (p<0.05), HR (p<0.001), HRR (p<0.001) and e'/a' (p<0.01) independently predicted VO2max. Indexes E/e' and e'/a' were associated with resting systolic BP (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION:

Even in the absence of structural or functional heart damage, elevated BP in elite athletes, together with the presence of autonomic dysfunction, leads to decrease in exercise capacity. Staging of hypertension according to the BP level, on the one hand, and reflexion of BP on cardiopulmonary capacity, on the other, may be coupled for further risk stratification.

KEYWORDS:

Athletes; Diastolic function; Exercise capacity; Hypertension

PMID:
25460373
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.11.125
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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