Echocardiographic characteristics of male athletes of different age

Br J Sports Med. 2001 Apr;35(2):95-9. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.35.2.95.


Two dimensionally guided M mode and Doppler echocardiographic data for 578 male subjects (106 non-athletic and 472 athletes) were analysed from two aspects: (a) in the young adult category (19--30 years of age), competitors in different groups of sports were studied; (b) in the different age groups (children, 10--14 years; adolescent juniors, 15--18 years; young adults, 19--30 years; adults, 31--44 years; older adults 45--60 years), data for athletes and non-athletes were compared. Morphological variables were related to body size by indices in which the exponents of the numerator and denominator were matched. Morphological signs of athletic heart were most consistently evident in the left ventricular muscle mass: in the young adult group, the highest values were seen in the endurance athletes, followed by the ball game players, sprinters/jumpers, and power athletes. A thicker muscular wall was the main reason for this hypertrophy. Internal diameter was only increased in the endurance athletes, and this increase was more evident in the younger groups. The E/A quotient (ratio of peak velocity during early and late diastole) indicated more effective diastolic function in the endurance athletes. The values for E/A quotient also suggested that regular physical activity at an older age may protect against age dependent impairment of diastolic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Echocardiography*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance
  • Sports*