Electrocardiogram of the athlete: an analysis of 289 professional football players

Am J Cardiol. 1984 May 1;53(9):1339-43. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(84)90090-0.

Abstract

The electrocardiogram (ECG) of athletes reflects physiologic cardiovascular adaptations that occur in well-conditioned individuals. To more clearly define electrocardiographic changes seen in predominantly power-trained athletes, the ECGs of 289 apparently healthy professional football players were analyzed in detail. The players, aged 21 to 35 years, one-third of whom were black, had a mean body surface area of 2.24 m2, a mean heart rate at rest of 56 +/- 9 beats/min (with 77% (223) having a rate of less than 60 beats/min), and a mean P axis of 30 +/- 25 degrees. A wide QRS-T angle (greater than 60 degrees) was present in 14% (41 players) of the group. The mean PR interval was 0.18 +/- 0.02 second (greater than 0.21 in 9% [26 players]). Although two-thirds of the players had a QRS duration of 0.10 second, only 1 had right bundle branch block and none had left bundle branch block. The sum of S in lead V1 plus R in lead V5 averaged 37 +/- 9 mm, with 35% (101 players) demonstrating voltage criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy. The S + R value varied inversely with weight (r = -0.27, p less than 0.002). The maximum T height in any lead had a mean of 8.6 +/- 3 mm, with 22% (64 players) having a T height greater than or equal to 11 mm. U waves were universally present. ST-T changes mimicking ischemia were noted in 39 of 289 players (13%), 22 (58%) of whom were black (p less than 0.001). The maximal J-point elevation in any lead averaged 1.9 +/- 0.9 mm.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cardiomegaly / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Football*
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans