Gender differences of atrial and ventricular remodeling and autonomic tone in nonelite athletes

Wilhelm, Matthias; Roten, Laurent; Tanner, Hildegard; Wilhelm, Ilca; Schmid, Jean-Paul; Saner, Hugo (2011). Gender differences of atrial and ventricular remodeling and autonomic tone in nonelite athletes. American journal of cardiology, 108(10), pp. 1489-95. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.06.073

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Veteran endurance athletes have an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), with a striking male predominance. We hypothesized that male athletes were more prone to atrial and ventricular remodeling and investigated the signal-averaged P wave and factors that promote the occurrence of AF. Nonelite athletes scheduled to participate in the 2010 Grand Prix of Bern, a 10-mile race, were invited. Of the 873 marathon and nonmarathon runners who were willing to participate, 68 female and 70 male athletes were randomly selected. The runners with cardiovascular disease or elevated blood pressure (>140/90 mm Hg) were excluded. Thus, 121 athletes were entered into the final analysis. Their mean age was 42 ± 7 years. No gender differences were found for age, lifetime training hours, or race time. The male athletes had a significantly longer signal-averaged P-wave duration (136 ± 12 vs 122 ± 10 ms; p <0.001). The left atrial volume was larger in the male athletes (56 ± 13 vs 49 ± 10 ml; p = 0.001), while left atrial volume index showed no differences (29 ± 7 vs 30 ± 6 ml/m²; p = 0.332). In male athletes, the left ventricular mass index (107 ± 17 vs 86 ± 16 g/m²; p <0.001) and relative wall thickness (0.44 ± 0.06 vs 0.41 ± 0.07; p = 0.004) were greater. No differences were found in the left ventricular ejection fraction (63 ± 4% vs 66 ± 6%; p = 0.112) and mitral annular tissue Doppler e' velocity (10.9 ± 1.5 vs 10.6 ± 1.5 cm/s; p = 0.187). However, the tissue Doppler a' velocity was higher (8.7 ± 1.2 vs 7.6 ± 1.3 cm/s; p < 0.001) in the male athletes. Male athletes had a higher systolic blood pressure at rest (123 ± 9 vs 110 ± 11 mm Hg; p < 0.001) and at peak exercise (180 ± 15 vs 169 ± 19 mm Hg; p = 0.001). In the frequency domain analysis of heart rate variability, the sympatho-vagal balance, represented by the low/high-frequency power ratio, was significantly greater in male athletes (5.8 ± 2.8 vs 3.9 ± 1.9; p < 0.001). Four athletes (3.3%) had at least one documented episode of paroxysmal AF, all were men (p = 0.042). In conclusion, for a comparable amount of training and performance, male athletes showed a more pronounced atrial remodeling, a concentric type of ventricular remodeling, and an altered diastolic function. A higher blood pressure at rest and during exercise and a higher sympathetic tone might be causal. The altered left atrial substrate might facilitate the occurrence of AF.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology

UniBE Contributor:

Wilhelm, Matthias; Roten, Laurent; Tanner, Hildegard; Schmid, Jean-Paul and Saner, Hugo

ISSN:

0002-9149

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:21

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:27

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.06.073

PubMed ID:

21864814

Web of Science ID:

000297435100019

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/7197 (FactScience: 212382)

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