Athlete's heart: Right and left ventricular mass and function in male endurance athletes and untrained individuals determined by magnetic resonance imaging

Jürgen Scharhag*, Günther Schneider, Axel Urhausen, Veneta Rochette, Bernhard Kramann, Wilfried Kindermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

315 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Athlete's heart represents a structural and functional adaptation to regular endurance exercise. BACKGROUND: While left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy of the athlete's heart has been examined in many studies, the extent of right ventricular (RV) hypertrophy is still uncertain because of its complex shape and trabecular structure. To examine RV hypertrophy, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and hypothesized that athlete's heart is characterized by similar LV and RV hypertrophy. METHODS: The LV and RV mass, volume, and function in 21 male endurance athletes (A) (27 ± 4 years; 70 ± 8 kg; 178 ± 7 cm; maximal oxygen uptake [Vo2max]: 68 ± 5 ml/min per kg) and 21 pair-matched untrained control subjects (C) (26 ± 3 years; 71 ± 9 kg; 178 ± 6 cm; Vo2max: 42 ± 6 ml/min per kg) were analyzed by MRI (Magnetom Vision 1.5T, Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). RESULTS: Left ventricular masses (A: 200 ± 20 g; C: 148 ± 17 g) and RV masses (A: 77 ± 10 g; C: 56 ± 8 g) differed significantly between the groups (p < 0.001). The LV and RV end-diastolic volumes (EDV) (LV-EDV 167 ± 28 ml [A]; 125 ± 16 ml [C]; RV-EDV 160 ± 26 ml [A]; 128 ± 10 ml [C]), and stroke volumes (SV) (LV-SV: 99 ± 18 ml [A], 74 ± 11 ml [C]; RV-SV: 102 ± 18 ml [A], 79 ± 8 ml [C]) were significantly different between the athletes and control subjects (p ± 0.001), whereas ejection fractions (EF) (LV-EF: 59 ± 3% [A]; 59 ± 6% [C]; RV-EF: 63 ± 3% [A], 62 ± 3% [C]) and LV-to-RV ratios were similar for both groups (LV-to-RV mass: 2.6 ± 0.2 [A], 2.6 ± 0.3 [C]; LV-to-RV EDV: 1.05 ± 0.14 [A], 0.99 ± 0.14 [C]; LV-to-RV SV: 0.98 ± 0.17 [A], 0.95 ± 0.17 [C]; LV-to-RV EF: 0.93 ± 0.07 [A], 0.96 ± 0.10 [C]). CONCLUSIONS: Regular and extensive endurance training results in similar changes in LV and RV mass, volume, and function in endurance athletes. This leads to the conclusion that the athlete's heart is a balanced enlarged heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1856-1863
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume40
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Athlete's heart: Right and left ventricular mass and function in male endurance athletes and untrained individuals determined by magnetic resonance imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this