Share this article on:

Anabolic Steroid Use and Longitudinal, Radial, and Circumferential Cardiac Motion


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 4 - p 583–590
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182358cb0
Clinical Sciences

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of anabolic steroid (AS) use on cardiac structure and function and cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods We recruited 47 strength-trained individuals (male = 46, female = 1), with 28 self-reporting regular AS use and 19 self-reporting never taking AS. Participants underwent assessment of body composition, lipid profiles, blood pressure, 12-lead ECG, and a comprehensive echocardiographic examination incorporating speckle tracking of longitudinal, radial, and circumferential left ventricular (LV) motion. A subgroup of AS users (n = 4) were tested during periods of AS use and abstinence.

Results AS users were heavier (96 ± 15 vs 81 ± 9 kg, P < 0.05), had higher LDL (3.68 ± 0.47 vs 2.41 ± 0.49 mmol·L−1, P < 0.05), and had higher resting HR (79 ± 12 vs 64 ± 13 beats·min−1), although blood pressures did not differ significantly between groups. In AS, LV wall thickness and mass were significantly greater (12 ± 2 vs 11 ± 1 mm and 280 ± 60 vs 231 ± 44 g, respectively, P < 0.05), whereas ejection fractions and peak longitudinal strain ([Latin Small Letter Open E]) were significantly lower (58% ± 8% vs 63% ± 6% and −14.6% ± 2.3% vs −16.9% ± 2.2%, P < 0.05). Indices of global diastolic function were reduced in AS users (E/A, E′/A′). Some diastolic strain rates (E SR and A SR) were altered in AS users. The E/A SR ratio was reduced in the longitudinal plane as well as in the circumferential and radial plane at the basal level (P < 0.05). Basal LV E/A rotation rate was also decreased in AS users (P < 0.05).

Conclusions AS use is associated with alterations in cardiac structure and function that, allied to poor lipid profiles, represent an increased cardiovascular risk profile.

1Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM; 2School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western AUSTRALIA; and 3Cardiology Department, Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Countess of Chester Health Park, Chester, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Peter Angell, B.Sc.(Hons), Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Tom Reilly Building, Byrom St., Liverpool, L3 3AF, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2011.

Accepted for publication August 2011.

©2012The American College of Sports Medicine