Cardiac adaptations in elite female football- and volleyball-athletes do not impact left ventricular global strain values: a speckle tracking echocardiography study

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Cardiac adaptations to exercise on an elite level have been well studied. Strain analysis by speckle tracking echocardiography has emerged as a tool for sports cardiologists to assess the nature of hypertrophy in athletes' hearts. In prior studies, strain values generally did not change in physiological adaptations to exercise but were reduced in pathological hypertrophy. However, research in this field has focused almost solely on male athletes. Purpose of the present study is to investigate strain values in the hearts of female elite athletes in football and volleyball. In this cross-sectional study echocardiography was performed on 19 female elite football-players, 16 female elite volleyball-players and 16 physically inactive controls. Conventional echocardiographic data was documented as well as left ventricular longitudinal, radial and circumferential strain values gained by speckle tracking echocardiography. The hearts of the female athletes had a thicker septal wall, a larger overall mass and larger atria than the hearts in the control group. Global longitudinal, radial and circumferential strain values did not differ between the athletes and controls or between sporting disciplines. No correlation between septal wall thickness and global strain values could be documented. Cardiac adaptations to elite level exercise in female volleyball and football players do not influence global strain values. This has been documented for male athletes of several disciplines. The present study adds to the very limited control-group comparisons of left ventricular strain values in elite female athletes. The findings indicate that global strain values can be used when assessing the cardiac health in female athletes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe international journal of cardiovascular imaging
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1085-1096
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2020

ID: 5191345

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