European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 459–478 | Cite as

Cardiovascular function and the veteran athlete

  • M. Wilson
  • R. O’Hanlon
  • S. Basavarajaiah
  • K. George
  • D. Green
  • P. Ainslie
  • S. Sharma
  • S. Prasad
  • C. Murrell
  • D. Thijssen
  • A. Nevill
  • G. Whyte
Review Article


The cardiovascular benefits of exercise are well known. In contrast, the impact of lifelong endurance exercise is less well understood. Long-term high-intensity endurance exercise is associated with changes in cardiac morphology together with electrocardiographic alterations that are believed to be physiologic in nature. Recent data however has suggested a number of deleterious adaptive changes in cardiac structure, function and electrical activity, together with peripheral and cerebral vascular structure and function. This review serves to detail knowledge in relation to; (1) Cardiac structure and function in veteran endurance athletes focusing on the differentiation of physiological and pathological changes in cardiac remodelling; (2) Cardiac electrical activity and the veteran endurance athlete with attention to arrhythmias, the substrate for arrhythmia generation and the clinical significance of such arrhythmias; (3) Peripheral and cerebral vascular structure and function in ageing and endurance-trained individuals; and (4) directions for future research.


Veteran athlete Endurance Cardiac remodelling Arrhythmia Fibrosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. O’Hanlon
    • 3
  • S. Basavarajaiah
    • 4
  • K. George
    • 2
  • D. Green
    • 5
  • P. Ainslie
    • 6
  • S. Sharma
    • 4
  • S. Prasad
    • 2
  • C. Murrell
    • 7
  • D. Thijssen
    • 2
  • A. Nevill
    • 8
  • G. Whyte
    • 2
    • 9
  1. 1.ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine HospitalDohaQatar
  2. 2.Research Institute for Sport and Exercise ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Department of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance ImagingRoyal Brompton and Harefield NHS TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Heart Muscle DisordersKings College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Sport and Exercise HealthUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  6. 6.Faculty of Health and Social DevelopmentUniversity of British ColumbiaOkanaganCanada
  7. 7.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  8. 8.Research Centre of Sport and Exercise PerformanceUniversity of WolverhamptonWalsallUK
  9. 9.Centre for Sports CardiologyCentre for Health and Human PerformanceLondonUK

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