Characterizing the spectrum of right ventricular remodelling in response to chronic training

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2017 Mar;33(3):331-339. doi: 10.1007/s10554-016-1014-x. Epub 2016 Nov 15.


The significance and spectrum of reduced right ventricular (RV) deformation, reported in endurance athletes, is unclear. To comprehensively analyze the cardiac performance at rest of athletes, especially focusing on integrating RV size and deformation to unravel the underlying triggers of this ventricular remodelling. Hundred professional male athletes and 50 sedentary healthy males of similar age were prospectively studied. Conventional echocardiographic parameters of all four chambers were obtained, as well as 2D echo-derived strain (2DSE) in the left (LV) and in the RV free wall with separate additional analysis of the RV basal and apical segments. Left and right-sided dimensions were larger in athletes than in controls, but with a disproportionate RA enlargement. RV global strain was lower in sportsmen (-26.8 ± 2.8% vs -28.5 ± 3.4%, p < 0.001) due to a decrease in the basal segment (-22.8 ± 3.5% vs -25.8 ± 4.0%, p < 0.001) resulting in a marked gradient of deformation from the RV inlet towards the apex. By integrating size, deformation and stroke volume, we observed that the LV working conditions were similar in all sportsmen while a wider variability existed in the RV. Cardiac remodelling in athletes is more pronounced in the right heart cavities with specific regional differences within the right ventricle, but with a wide variability among individuals. The large inter-individual differences, as well as its acute and chronic relevance warrant further investigation.

Keywords: Athlete’s heart; Overload; Right ventricle remodelling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cardiomegaly, Exercise-Induced*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Function, Right*
  • Ventricular Remodeling*
  • Young Adult