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Cardiol Young. 2017 Jan;27(S1):S94-S100. doi: 10.1017/S1047951116002304.

Morbidities in the ultra-athlete and marathoner.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics,Division of Cardiology,Children's Heart Centre,British Columbia's Children's Hospital,Vancouver,British Columbia,Canada.


The cardiovascular benefits of habitual exercise are well documented. In the current era, more of the population is exceeding the recommendations for physical activity as the popularity of endurance events increases. Recent data have proposed a U-shaped relationship between exercise intensity and cardiovascular outcomes. Regular participation in endurance activities has been shown to result in structural and functional changes in the heart. This re-modelling may be the substrate for cardiac dysfunction or arrhythmias. The risk of sudden cardiac death may also be elevated; however, in most cases of sudden cardiac death, the cause can be linked to an underlying cardiac pathology where exercise acted as the trigger for a lethal arrhythmia. This article serves to review whether excessive exercise may result in harm in some athletes.


Endurance athlete; arrhythmias; athlete’s heart; exercise; sudden cardiac death

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