Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018 Jun;25(9):1000-1007. doi: 10.1177/2047487318776079. Epub 2018 May 22.

Morphological changes and myocardial function assessed by traditional and novel echocardiographic methods in preadolescent athlete's heart.

Author information

1 Department of Cardiology, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway.
2 Center for Cardiological Innovation, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway.
3 Institute for Surgical Research, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway.
4 Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
5 Department of Paediatric Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway.
6 University of Oslo, Norway.


Background Athlete's heart is a term used to describe the morphological and functional changes in the hearts of athletes. Recent studies suggest that these changes may occur even in preadolescent athletes. This study aims to improve our understanding of the changes occurring in the preadolescent athlete's heart. Design and methods Cardiac morphology and function in 76 preadolescent cross-country skiers (aged 12.1 ± 0.2 years) were compared with 25 age-matched non-competing preadolescents. Echocardiography was performed in all subjects, including 2D speckle-tracking strain echocardiography and 3D echocardiography. All participants underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing to assess oxygen uptake and exercise capacity. Results Athletes had greater indexed VO2 max (62 ± 7 vs. 44 ± 5 mL/kg per min, p < 0.001), indexed left ventricular end-diastolic volume (79 ± 7 vs. 68 ± 7 mL/m2, p < 0.001), left ventricular mass (69 ± 12 vs. 57 ± 13 g/m2, p < 0.001), indexed right ventricular basal diameter (28.3 ± 3.0 vs. 25.4 ± 3.5 mm/m2, p < 0.001) and right atrial area (10.6 ± 1.4 vs. 9.7 ± 1.2 cm2/m2, p < 0.01). There was no difference in left ventricular ejection fraction, global longitudinal strain, and global circumferential strain and right ventricular fractional area change between the groups. Controls had higher right ventricular global longitudinal strain (-28.1 ± 3.5 vs. -31.1 ± 3.3%, p < 0.01). VO2 max was highly correlated to left ventricular end-diastolic volume ( r = 0.76, p < 0.001). Conclusion Athletes had greater left ventricular mass and greater left and right ventricular chamber dimensions compared with controls, while left ventricular function did not differ. Interestingly, right ventricular deformation was significantly lower compared with controls. This supports the notion that there is physiological, adaptive remodelling in preadolescent athlete's heart.


Cardiomegaly; echocardiography; exercise test; exercise-induced; four-dimensional; three-dimensional

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for Norwegian BIBSYS system
Loading ...
Support Center