Left ventricular function during exercise in athletes and in sedentary men

DI BELLO, VITANTONIO; SANTORO, GINO; TALARICO, LUIGI; DI MURO, CARMINE; CAPUTO, MARIA TERESA; GIORGI, DAVIDE; BERTINI, ALESSIO; BIANCHI, MASSIMILIANO; GIUSTI, COSTANTINO

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - pp 190-196
Basic Sciences: Original Investigations

Aim of this study was to evaluate left ventricular function during exercise, in 10 male elite runners and in 10 sedentary males. End-diastolic(EDV) and end-systolic volume (ESV), left ventricular ejection fraction (EF), early peak transmitral flow velocity (peak E), time-velocity integral of mitral inflow (m-TVI); mitral cross sectional area (m-CSA); mitral stroke volume (SV), and cardiac output (CO) were measured by echo-Doppler. We simultaneously analyzed: ˙VO2max by spirometric method, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) by sphygmomanometer, and heart rate (HR) by ECG. The parameters were measured under basal conditions (level 1), at 50% of maximal aerobic capacity (level 2), at peak of exercise (level 3) and during recovery. Ejection fraction in athletes increased significantly at peak of exercise through Frank-Starling mechanism. Stroke volume and cardiac output increased significantly in athletes at peak of exercise. Left ventricular diastolic function was superior in athletes versus controls: in fact, higher peak E in athletes enhanced early diastolic ventricular filling. Therefore, the athletes showed complex cardiovascular adjustments induced by training, which allowed an higher peak working power, a greater cardiac output, and˙VO2max when compared with an untrained control population.

Institute of Clinical Medicine II, University of Pisa, Pisa, ITALY

Submitted for publication March 1994.

Accepted for publication April 1995.

Address for correspondence: Vitantonio Di Bello, M.D., Istituto di Clinica Medica II, Università di Pisa, via Roma 67, 1-56100 Pisa, Italy.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine