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Scientific Papers - Cardiac Volumes and Masses in Elderly Endurance Athletes

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Torleif Sandner MD  
Abstract Co-Author
Stefan Moehlenkamp MD  
Kai Nassenstein  
Frank Breuckmann  
Peter Hunold MD  
Joerg Barkhausen MD  
  CODE: SSA08-06
  SESSION: Cardiac (MR)
  Cardiac Volumes and Masses in Elderly Endurance Athletes
  DATE: Sunday, November 26 2006
  START TIME: 11:35 AM
  END TIME: 11:45 AM

  T.S. - Nothing to disclose.  
  S.M. - Nothing to disclose.  
  K.N. - Nothing to disclose.  
  F.B. - Nothing to disclose.  
  P.H. - Nothing to disclose.  
  J.B. - Nothing to disclose.  

The impact of endurance sports on cardiovascular parameters is well documented. However, most studies were performed in young volunteers only, and the results are not transferable to elderly patients, which are the typical cohort for cardiovascular exams. Therefore, our study aimed to investigate the impact of endurance sports on cardiac function in elderly marathon runners and to establish a database of left ventricular volumes and masses using Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.
We studied 110 male volunteers (mean age 57,6±5,6 years; range 50-72 years) who had completed at least 5 marathons within the last 3 years. Inclusion criteria were age above 50 and below 75 years, no known history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes and a normal resting electrocardiogram (ECG). All CMR examinations were performed on a 1.5 Tesla MR scanner (Avanto, Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen, Germany) using the steady-state-free-prececession sequences (TR 40ms, TE 1,2ms, FA 80°). MR images were analysed using the Argus software and semiautomatic contour detection.
Left ventricular volumes (EDV 137,2 ± 31,8 ml; ESV 51,9 ± 17,4) and ejection fraction (62 ± 8%) turned out to be comparable to previously published data of “non-athletic” study groups whereas the mean left ventricular mass (LVM 141 ± 27g) was significantly higher. Normalized values were as follows: EDV 73,7 ± 14,3ml, ESV 24,6 ± 6,5ml and myocardial mass 77,5 ± 13,0g.
In a group of 110 elderly marathon runners we clearly demonstrated the effects of endurance sports on “old” hearts. „Old“ hearts adapt to endurance sports with hypertrophy, but did not show any ventricular dilatation, which is a common finding in young athletes.
An increased LV mass has to be taken into account diagnosing left-ventricular hypertrophy in elderly endurance athletes.
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