Structure and function of distance runners' heart

Medicina (Kaunas). 2005;41(8):685-92.
[Article in English, Lithuanian]


Objective: To compare ultra-long distance runners' heart morphologic and functional parameters at rest with those of long distance runners' and middle distance runners'.

Materials and methods: Standard Doppler, M-mode and 2-D-mode echocardiography was performed at rest to 22 middle, 31 long and 11 ultra-long adult male distance runners.

Results: Long and ultra-long distance runners' left ventricular mass and left ventricular mass index were larger (p<0.05) than that of middle distance runners' (groups' means--approximately 288, 305 and 250 g as well as 153, 160 and 130 g/m(2), respectively) due to both larger (p<0.05) end-diastolic interventricular wall thickness (10.6, 11.1 and 9.8 mm, respectively) and left ventricular posterior wall thickness (10.7, 11.5 and 10.0 mm, respectively). Ultra-long distance runners' left ventricular mass and mass index did not differ significantly from long distance runners' (p>0.05), but end-diastolic posterior wall thickness was higher (p<0.05). Relative left ventricular wall thickness was larger in ultra-long distance runners as compared with middle distance runners (0.402 and 0.362, respectively; p<0.05). Ultra-long distance runners' right ventricular end-diastolic diameter was significantly larger (p<0.05) than that of middle and long distance runners (groups' means--25.8, 20.7 and 21.4 mm, respectively). Right ventricular end-diastolic free wall was thicker in ultra-long distance runners as compared with middle distance runners (groups' means--6.7 and 5.9 mm, respectively; p<0.05). Diastolic left ventricular function (evaluated as E/A) as well as end-diastolic left ventricular diameter (groups' mean--55.5-56.4 mm) did not differ between groups (p>0.05).

Conclusions: The hypertrophy of ultra-long (as well as long) distance runners' myocardium of both ventricles is more pronounced than that of middle distance runners'.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diastole / physiology
  • Echocardiography
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Systole / physiology
  • Ventricular Function, Left