Effects That Different Types of Sports Have on the Hearts of Children and Adolescents and the Value of Two-Dimensional Strain-Strain-Rate Echocardiography
Whether the hypertrophy found in the hearts of athletes is physiologic or a risk factor for the progression of pathologic hypertrophy remains controversial. The diastolic and systolic functions of athletes with left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy usually are normal when measured by conventional methods. More precise assessment of global and regional myocardial function may be possible using a newly developed two-dimensional (2D) strain echocardiographic method. This study evaluated the effects that different types of sports have on the hearts of children and adolescents and compared the results of 2D strain and strain-rate echocardiographic techniques with conventional methods. Athletes from clubs for five different sports (basketball, swimming, football, wrestling, and tennis) who had practiced regularly at least 3 h per week during at least the previous 2 years were included in the study. The control group consisted of sedentary children and adolescents with no known cardiac or systemic diseases (n = 25). The athletes were grouped according to the type of exercise: dynamic (football, tennis), static (wrestling), or static and dynamic (basketball, swimming). Shortening fraction and ejection fraction values were within normal limits for the athletes in all the sports disciplines. Across all 140 athletes, LV geometry was normal in 58 athletes (41.4 %), whereas 22 athletes (15.7 %) had concentric remodeling, 20 (14.3 %) had concentric hypertrophy, and 40 (28.6 %) had eccentric hypertrophy. Global LV longitudinal strain values obtained from the average of apical four-, two-, and three-chamber global strain values were significantly lower for the basketball players than for all the other groups (p < 0.001).