COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Left ventricular myocardial velocities and deformation indexes in top-level athletes

Antonello D'Andrea, Rosangela Cocchia, Lucia Riegler, Raffaella Scarafile, Gemma Salerno, Rita Gravino, Enrica Golia, Enrica Pezzullo, Rodolfo Citro, Giuseppe Limongelli, Giuseppe Pacileo, Sergio Cuomo, Pio Caso, Maria Giovanna Russo, Eduardo Bossone, Raffaele Calabrò
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 2010, 23 (12): 1281-8
21111925

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to define the range of left ventricular (LV) velocities and deformation indexes in highly trained athletes, analyzing potential differences induced by different long-term training protocols.

METHODS: Standard echocardiography, pulsed-wave tissue Doppler echocardiography, and two-dimensional strain echocardiography of the interventricular septum and lateral wall were performed in 370 endurance athletes and 280 power athletes. Using pulsed-wave tissue Doppler, the following parameters of myocardial function were assessed: systolic peak velocities (S(m)), early (E(m)) and late (A(m)) diastolic velocities, and the E(m)/A(m) ratio. By two-dimensional strain echocardiography, peaks of regional systolic strain and LV global longitudinal strain were calculated.

RESULTS: LV mass index and ejection fraction did not significantly differ between the two groups. However, power athletes showed an increased sum of wall thicknesses (P < .01) and relative wall thickness, while LV stroke volume and LV end-diastolic diameter (P < .001) were greater in endurance athletes. By pulsed-wave tissue Doppler analysis, E(m) and E(m)/A(m) at both the septal and lateral wall levels were higher in endurance athletes. By two-dimensional strain echocardiography, myocardial deformation indexes were comparable between the two groups. E(m)/A(m) ratios ≥ 1 were found in the overall population, while 90 % of athletes had an E(m) ≥ 16 cm/sec, S(m) ≥ 10 cm/sec, and global longitudinal strain ≤ -16%. Multivariate analyses evidenced independent positive association between Em peak velocity and LV end-diastolic volume (P < .001) and an independent correlation of global longitudinal strain with the sum of LV wall thicknesses (P < .005).

CONCLUSIONS: This study describes the full spectrum of systolic and diastolic myocardial velocities and deformation indexes in a large population of competitive athletes.

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