Early investigations in the late 1890s and early 1900s documented cardiac enlargement in athletes with above-normal exercise capacity and no evidence of cardiovascular disease. Such findings have been reported for more than a century and continue to intrigue scientists and clinicians. It is well recognized that repetitive participation in vigorous physical exercise results in significant changes in myocardial structure and function. This process, termed exercise-induced cardiac remodeling (EICR), is characterized by structural cardiac changes including left ventricular hypertrophy with sport-specific geometry (eccentric vs concentric). Associated alterations in both systolic and diastolic functions are emerging as recognized components of EICR. The increasing popularity of recreational exercise and competitive athletics has led to a growing number of individuals exhibiting these findings in routine clinical practice. This review will provide an overview of EICR in athletes.
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