Background: Professional, long-term physical training is often associated with morphological and metabolic changes in the heart. This study was undertaken to assess the left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) morphology and function and the LV high-energy phosphates of athletes trained to a sustained power or aerobic exercise. Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the LV and RV and phosphorous 31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the LV were performed by means of a 1.5-T clinical scanner in 23 elite track sprinters (sustained power or anaerobic power sprint training, 100-400 m) or marathon runners (sustained aerobic endurance training) and in 10 sedentary, young, lean men. Results: Athletes had LV hypertrophy and unaffected chamber size, systolic and diastolic functions, and high-energy phosphates metabolism. Also, the RV of the athletes was hypertrophied in comparison with that of the nonathletic controls, and the systolic and diastolic functions were unaffected; the chamber volume was higher in the sprinters (end-diastolic volume 190 ± 15 mL) in comparison with that of the marathon runners (174 ± 19 mL, P <.05) and controls (168 ± 19 mL, P <.01) even if this difference, when adjusted for body surface area, was maintained only when compared with that of controls (P <.02). Conclusions: Left ventricular and RV hypertrophy in athletes is associated with normal systolic and diastolic functions and resting cardiac energy metabolism, supporting its benign nature. A more pronounced RV dilatation was found in the anaerobic power athletes and further investigation is warranted to establish the clinical significance of this training effect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine