Background: It is unknown how much precociously the cigarette smoking (CS) may compromise the integrity of the cardiovascular (CV) system. Myocardial function can be routinely assessed by conventional echocardiography, but abnormalities are only detected when somewhat a remodelling has already occurred. These limitations could be overcome by strain imaging.
Methods: We evaluated whether young smokers with normal left ventricular (LV) geometry, wall motion and ejection fraction may present abnormalities in myocardial deformation, both at rest and during physical effort. We selected 50 young smokers with no additional CV risk factors, and 60 non-smokers to undergo a standardized exercise-test. Consistently, we evaluated the CV adaptation to exercise by both conventional echocardiography and speckle-tracking analysis (2D-STE).
Results: We found no difference between smokers and controls regarding baseline characteristics; as expected, smokers presented with lower HDL-cholesterol (p < 0.005), and higher fibrinogen, C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (p < 0.001). Conventional echocardiography parameters were not different between groups, while we detected a different behaviour of global longitudinal strain (GLS), global circumferential strain (GCS) and twist by 2D-STE during exercise-test. Indeed, GLS, GCS and twist behaved differently during exercise test in smokers with respect to controls. We found an association between CS, inflammation and LV mechanics changes uncovered by physical effort, and regression analysis confirmed that the intensity of the exposure to cigarette smoking, together with the inflammatory status (CRP, fibrinogen and Il-6) plasma levels, drive this impairment.
Conclusions: We confirm strain imaging (2D-STE) as a very useful tool to identify early changes in cardiac mechanics, as adaptation to exercise; our findings may reflect a very precocious functional abnormality in active smokers, likely long before structural damage occurs.
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|Publication status||Published - Mar 30 2020|