Analysis of right and left ventricular deformation in former world class swimmers: evaluation using speckle tracking

C. Knackstedt*, U. Hildebrandt, K. Schmidt, L. Syrocki, A. Lang, B. Bjarnason-Wehrens, G. Schummers, D. Stapf, M. Becker, H. G. Predel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aim. There is a longstanding debate over the long-term effect of intensive endurance training on cardiac function. Usually, echocardiography has been used as a global evaluation of left ventricular (LV) or right ventricular (RV) function and dimensions. Recently, speckle tracking strain (ST) has provided an analysis of regional RV and LV function. Thus, the intention of the study was to carefully evaluate cardiac function in a group of former world class swimmers applying longitudinal strain (LS) and circumferential strain (CS) analysis.Methods. Twelve athletes (45 +/- 1.5 years) of a former training group involved in high intensity endurance training were examined 24.9 +/- 4.3 years after the end of their active swimming career. An echocardiography was performed and LV function was analyzed based on CS and LS. Also, LS was evaluated for the RV. All measurements were performed for epicardium and endocardium independently.Results. Mean LV endocardial LS was -20.0 +/- 6.3 and epicardial LS -20.2 +/- 6.2. LV endocardial CS was -21.3 +/- 8.0 and epicardial CS -11.9 +/- 4.2. RV endocardial LS had a mean value of -26.4 +/- 6.1 and epicardial LS of -28.2 +/- 5.6.Conclusion. Twenty-five years after the cessation of endurance training, there was no evidence of a deterioration of RV or LV function as values for RV and LV strain measurements were within normal ranges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-987
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Exercise
  • Athletes
  • Cardiomegaly
  • exercise-induced
  • Cardiac imaging techniques
  • Sprains and strains

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