Cardiovascular adaptation in athletes

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2016 Jan;26(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 Apr 10.


Millions of athletes train for and participate in competitive athletics each year. Many of these athletes will present to a cardiovascular specialist with signs or symptoms that might indicate heart disease and these athletes/patients will ask for advice on their ability to continue to train and compete safely. By virtue of their training, athletes׳ hearts may undergo significant structural and electrical change, presenting a special challenge for the cardiovascular specialist. It is important to understand normal adaptive changes in order to separate normal physiology from pathology.

Keywords: Athlete; Athlete׳s heart; Cardiomyopathy; Exercise; Hypertrophy; Sports cardiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes*
  • Cardiomegaly, Exercise-Induced / physiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Heart Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Safety*
  • Sports*
  • Symptom Assessment / methods