Cardiac remodeling induced by exercise in Caucasian male master athletes: a cross-sectional study

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To describe cardiac remodeling in a population of male master athletes evaluated by transthoracic echocardiography and to analyse its relationship with several exercise-related characteristics. A total of 105 male master athletes aged ≥ 40 years old, mostly involved in endurance sports (81.0%) with a median training-volume of 66 [44; 103] METs/h/week, were studied. Left ventricular end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes were above the references in 84.8% and 75.8% athletes, decreasing in frequency when adjusted for BSA (26.3% and 23.2%). LV geometry was changed in more than half of the athletes (eccentric hypertrophy 28.3%, concentric remodelling 15.2% and concentric hypertrophy 8.1%) and several right ventricular (RV) dimensions were increased. Left atrium was dilated in 53.5% and right atrium in 37.4% athletes; only one athlete had a dilated aorta. Mean LV ejection fraction was 61 ± 7% and global longitudinal strain − 18.3 ± 2.0%. Changes in LV geometry were more common in high intensity sports; LV dilation in athletes exercising > 10 h/week and in high intensity sports; RV dilation in athletes exercising > 66 MET-hour/week and in endurance sports. In multivariate analysis high intensity sports remained an independent predictor of changes in LV geometry. A significant proportion of male master athletes showed altered echocardiographic parameters compared to the reference values, more pronounced in those involved in endurance sports, with high intensity and high volume of exercise. This may correspond to exercise-induced physiological adaptations, reinforcing the concept that the characteristics of exercise are major determinants of cardiac remodeling and should be considered during athletes’ evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 69 - 78
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Cardiac remodeling
  • Master athletes
  • Transthoracic echocardiogram


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