Competitive sports and the heart: benefit or risk?

TitelCompetitive sports and the heart: benefit or risk?
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AutorenScharhag J, Löllgen H, Kindermann W
JournalDtsch Arztebl Int
Seitennummerierung14-23; quiz 24; e1-2
Date Published2013 Jan
SchlüsselwörterHeart Diseases, Humans, Incidence, Risk Assessment, Sports

BACKGROUND: Controversy surrounds the cardiac effects of competitive sports and the athlete's heart. In this review, we present and discuss the main cardiological findings in competitive athletes.

METHOD: Selective review of pertinent literature retrieved by a search with the keywords "athlete's heart," "ECG," "echocardiography," "endurance exercise," "longevity," and others.

RESULTS: Regular exercise leads to functional and structural adaptations that improve cardiac function. Athlete's heart, which develops rarely, is a typical finding in endurance athletes. This condition is characterized by physiological, harmonically eccentric hypertrophy of all cardiac chambers. The athlete's ECG can be used to distinguish physiological, training-related changes from pathological training-unrelated changes. The athlete's heart function is normal at rest and increases appropriately during exercise. The cardiac markers troponin and B-type natriuretic peptide are within the normal range in healthy athletes at rest, but can temporarily be mildly elevated after exhausting endurance-exercise, without evidence of myocardial damage. The epidemiological data suggest that participation in competitive sports increases life expectancy.

CONCLUSION: Competitive exercise does not induce cardiac damage in individuals with healthy hearts, but does induce physiological functional and structural cardiac adaptations which have positive effects on life expectancy.

Alternate JournalDtsch Arztebl Int
PubMed ID23450998
PubMed Central IDPMC3561756
Nicht definiert