Magnitude, reproducibility, and association with baseline cardiac function of cardiac biomarker release in long-distance runners aged > or =55 years

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Jul 15;102(2):218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.03.042. Epub 2008 May 29.


Cardiac biomarker release after endurance exercise has been described in young athletes. Although older athletes are increasingly active in such sports, they have not previously been studied. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the magnitude and reproducibility of biomarker release in athletes aged > or =55 years. Forty-three healthy athletes (mean age 61 +/- 3.6 years) were assessed before and immediately after a 30-km cross-country race and studied with echocardiography at rest. The median N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP; normal <194 ng/L) level was 42 ng/L (interquartile range 30 to 95) at baseline and 191 ng/L (interquartile range 114 to 308) after the race. Troponin T (normal <0.03 microg/L) was elevated in 19 subjects (44%) after the race. Twenty-two subjects had also been studied 3 years before at the same race, using an identical test protocol. Between the 2 races, strong correlations were seen for individual runners' postrace biomarker levels (NT-proBNP: r = 0.82, log transformed data; troponin T: Spearman's rho = 0.84; p <0.001 for both). The coefficient of variation for NT-proBNP release was 8.1%. Levels of NT-proBNP after the race were correlated with levels at baseline (r = 0.93, p <0.001) and with left ventricular mass index (r = 0.32, p = 0.03). Moreover, participants with elevated postrace NT-proBNP were significantly older (62.0 vs 59.8 years, p = 0.04). In conclusion, long-distance runners aged > or =55 years released NT-proBNP and troponin T in a reproducible fashion. The magnitude of NT-proBNP release during the race was correlated strongly with NT-proBNP baseline levels and was associated with left ventricular mass and age. These findings may suggest a potential adverse effect of long-distance running on cardiac function in certain participants in this age group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers