Exercise-Induced Cardiovascular Adaptations and Approach to Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease: JACC State-of-the-Art Review

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Oct 5;78(14):1453-1470. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.08.003.


The role of the sports cardiologist has evolved into an essential component of the medical care of athletes. In addition to the improvement in health outcomes caused by reductions in cardiovascular risk, exercise results in adaptations in cardiovascular structure and function, termed exercise-induced cardiac remodeling. As diagnostic modalities have evolved over the last century, we have learned much about the healthy athletic adaptation that occurs with exercise. Sports cardiologists care for those with known or previously unknown cardiovascular conditions, distinguish findings on testing as physiological adaptation or pathological changes, and provide evidence-based and "best judgment" assessment of the risks of sports participation. We review the effects of exercise on the heart, the approach to common clinical scenarios in sports cardiology, and the importance of a patient/athlete-centered, shared decision-making approach in the care provided to athletes.

Keywords: athletes; prevention; sports cardiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Athletes*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans