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Vol 10, No 4 (2015)
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Published online: 2015-08-28

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Echocardiographic evaluation of cardiovascular system in adolescent athletes in view of physiological adaptation to physical training

Marcin Konopka, Maciej Banach, Krystyna Burkhard-Jagodzińska, Wojciech Król, Krystyna Anioł, Dariusz Sitkowski, Andrzej Pokrywka, Andrzej Klusiewicz, Maria Ładyga, Joanna Orysiak, Mirosław Dłużniewski, Wojciech Braksator
DOI: 10.5603/FC.2015.0044
Folia Cardiologica 2015;10(4):233-241.


Introduction. Assessment of cardiovascular system in young athletes is a subject of active research. Cardiac morphology is difficult to evaluate due to significant anthropometric differences between individuals, especially during puberty and growth spurt.

The aim of this paper was an assessment of systematic physical training’s impact on cardiovascular system and cardiac remodeling in young athletes.

Material and methods. Study involved 89 adolescent athletes, including 41 football players and tennis players (group 1) and 48 beginner rowers (group 2). All athletes included in the study underwent ergospirometric tests with evaluation of peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) as well as a 12-lead electrocardiographic and echocardiographic evaluation.

Results. Athletes in group 1 (football/tennis players) were compared to group 2 (rowers). There were no significant differences in age (14.2 ± 1.1 vs. 14.3 ± 1.2 years, p = NS) or sex (6 [7.6%] vs. 8 women [10.2%], respectively, p = NS). Differences were observed in anthropometric parameters, cardiopulmonary fitness, and resting heart rate. Most parameters

of cardiac morphology indexed to body area (indexed value: raw data/bodu surface area) were greater in group 1 (left ventricular end-diastolic dimension 29.1 ± 2.5 vs. 26.8 ± 2.7 mm/m2, p < 0.001; septal thickness: 6.0 ± 0.7 vs. 5.4 ± 0.8 mm, p = 0.001; posterior wall thickness: 0.8 ± 0.6 vs. 5.2 ± 0.6, p < 0.001; proximal part of right ventricle outflow tract: 16.1 ± 2.2 vs. 14.5 ± 2.0 mm/m2, p = 0.001; right ventricle inflow tract: 19.9 ± 2.1 vs. 18.5 ± 2.6 mm/m2, p = 0.01). When allometric scaling was employed, most differences were insignificant, apart from indexed left ventricle mass (87.0 ± 13.9 vs. 76.8 ± 12.2 g/(m2)1.5, p = 0.001).

Conclusions. 1. Allometric indexation of echocardiographic parameters in young athletes is appropriate since relationship between body height increase and the rate of internal organ growth in these subjects is non-linear. 2. Even a short physical training in young athletes has impact on their condition but does not significantly affect parameters of cardiac morphology.

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