Prolonged endurance exercise in humans has been associated with an acute impairment in diastolic and systolic cardiac function and the release of cardiac troponin. In this chapter, we review recent evidence from studies using novel echocardiographic parameters and highly sensitive cardiac troponin assays. We demonstrate that the mechanics of left and right ventricular functions are acutely impaired after completion of prolonged exercise and that this reduction in function is likely multifactorial in etiology. However, we highlight that exercise-induced cardiac troponin release is not a marker of exercise-induced pathology but likely a physiologic response to exercise. Finally, we discuss the potential link between prolonged exercise and the increased incidence of cardiac pathology in veteran athletes.
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