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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 187-191

Cardiac Remodeling in Female Athletes with Relation to Sport Discipline and Exercise Dose – A Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Study

1 Department of Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, National Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw, Poland
2 Department of Radiology, Magnetic Resonance Unit, National Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw, Poland

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Lukasz A Malek
Department of Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, National Institute of Cardiology, Niemodlinska Str 33, 04-635 Warsaw
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_19_22

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Purpose: To compare chronic cardiac adaptations to exercise at various intensities and in different sports categories of female athletes. Methods: This was a retrospective study including 30 elite female athletes (members of the National Team), 14 amateur female athletes training 3-6 h per week for several years, and 20 inactive female controls who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance. Results: Left and right ventricular end-diastolic volumes (LVEDVI and RVEDVI) differed between all studied groups. They rose from controls to elite athletes, with amateur athletes in-between (for LVEDVI 73 ± 9 vs. 83 ± 6 vs. 95 ± 13 ml/m2, P < 0.001, for RVEDVI 74 ± 7 vs. 84 ± 6 vs. 97 ± 14 ml/m2, P < 0.001, respectively). Left and right atrial areas (LAA and RAA) were larger in amateur and elite athletes than in controls (P < 0.001), but there was no difference between the two athlete groups. The interventricular septal diameter was mildly higher only in elite female athletes (9 ± 1 mm vs. 8 ± 1 mm, P < 0.001). No difference in the above parameters was found between power and endurance athletes. Three athletes presented with benign myocardial fibrosis in the lower left ventricular (LV)-right ventricle junction point. Conclusions: The hearts of female athletes differed from inactive controls. Part of the changes was related to exercise intensity (LVEDVI and RVEDVI, mild LV muscle thickening), but other changes were not (LAA and RAA). There was no difference in the heart chamber size and LV muscle thickness between studied athletes engaging in power and endurance disciplines. There were also no significant myocardial tissue changes observed in both elite and amateur female athletes.

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