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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1987 Apr;9(4):776-83.

Physiologic hypertrophy: effects on left ventricular systolic mechanics in athletes.


Physiologic hypertrophy resulting from intense athletic participation has been reported to result in normal, reduced and augmented overall left ventricular performance. Rather than representing true differences in left ventricular contractility, these data may reflect the variable degree of ventricular dilation and increased wall thickness that occur with different types of exercise. As such, the resultant altered loading conditions may diminish the ability of the usual indexes of left ventricular function to accurately assess the left ventricular contractile state. Therefore, three groups of elite athletes with distinct patterns of myocardial hypertrophy were investigated utilizing recently developed load-independent contractility indexes. Age-matched control subjects (n = 33) were compared with 11 swimmers, 11 long-distance runners and 11 power lifters. Rest echocardiogram, phonocardiogram and calibrated carotid pulse tracing were used to calculate left ventricular dimensions, wall thickness, mass, fractional shortening, velocity of shortening and mean, peak and end-systolic wall stresses and the stress-time and minute stress-time integrals. Compared with control subjects, all athletes had increased left ventricular mass, even when values were normalized for body surface area. Runners had a dilated left ventricular and normal wall thickness, swimmers had a mildly dilated ventricle with increased wall thickness and power lifters had normal cavity size with markedly increased wall thickness. Peak systolic wall stress was normal in runners and swimmers and reduced in power lifters, whereas end-systolic stress was low in swimmers and power lifters and normal in runners. The minute stress-time integral, a measure of myocardial oxygen consumption, was normal in runners and swimmers but was significantly reduced in lifters.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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