The influence of LV geometry on the occurrence of abnormal exercise tests in athletes

Danny A J P van de Sande, Jan Hoogsteen, Pieter A Doevendans, Hareld M C Kemps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Previous studies revealed a high rate of abnormal exercise test (ET) results in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in asymptomatic athletes. The physiological background of this phenomenon is not well established. In particular, it is unclear whether sports-induced morphological cardiac adaptations are determinants of abnormal ET results. The main objective of this study was to investigate if healthy asymptomatic recreational and competitive athletes with abnormal ET results without obstructive CAD have a higher LV mass when compared with athletes with normal ET results.

METHODS: Seventy-three athletes with abnormal ET results without presence of obstructive CAD underwent echocardiographic assessment of LV mass, systolic and diastolic measurements. These data were compared with data from 73 athletes with normal ET results, matched for gender, age, body composition, sports characteristics and exercise capacity.

RESULTS: No significant increase in LV mass (161.9 ± 39 g vs. 166.9 ± 42.1 g, p = 0.461) was found between groups. Athletes with abnormal ET results had a significant thicker IVSd (9.7 ± 1.8 mm vs. 9.0 ± 1.7 mm, p = 0.014), higher IVSd/PWTd ratio (1.08 ± 0.20 vs. 1.00 ± 0.12, p = 0.011) and deceleration time (DT) was prolonged ((225.14 ± 55.08 vs. 199.96 ± 34.65, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSION: Athletes with abnormal ET result did not show a higher in LV mass when compared to athletes with a normal ET result. However, a pattern of asymmetric cardiac remodeling, together with altered diastolic function is present. Due to small differences, cardiac remodeling only plays a limited role in the occurrence of positive ET results in athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Cardiomegaly, Exercise-Induced
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Remodeling
  • Echocardiography
  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Exercise testing
  • Cardiac remodeling

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