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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-81

Functional and structural changes in soccer players' heart and the risk for sudden cardiac death

1 Department of Cardiac Technology, College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Physiotherapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Health Information Management, College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ayman M Azoz
University of Dammam, P.O BOX 2435, Dammam - 31451
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.146352

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Background: Regular exercise in athletes is associated with cardiac acclimation in the form of functional and structural changes. Its effect on the cardiac functions still debated. Objective: The objective was to detect the impact of long-term regular physical exercise on the cardiac systolic and diastolic function of soccer players. Materials and Methods: Thirty professional soccer players were examined twice, the first examination was made during the passive resting period before the beginning of the season (measurement I) and the second during the peak of the season (measurement II). At both examinations, players underwent electrocardiogram (ECG), conventional Echo-Doppler, pulsed tissue Doppler imaging on both septal and lateral sides of the mitral annulus and lateral tricuspid annulus. The (propagation velocity [Vp]) values were measured. Paired t-test was used for comparison. Results: The following changes between measurement I and measurement II were found: ECG Changes; 80% of the entire group showed early repolarization, 93% had left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) by voltage criteria, 20% showed right atrial abnormalities, 20% left atrial abnormalities, 40% showed inverted T-wave in leads V1-V4, 5% showed mobitz type I second degree heart block, and 5% showed incomplete right bundle branch block. Echo changes; The mitral E/E` ratio increased from 6.18 ± 1.27 to 6.91 ± 1.18; the Vp decreased from 56.3 ± 9.23 to 50.67 ± 8.6; the tricuspid valve Ratio between the early and late peak pulsed Doppler velocities on tricuspid valve decreased from 1.67 ± 0.23 to 1.54 ± 0.23 while the E`/A` ratio decreased from 1.67 ± 0.53 to 1.28 ± 0.49; the (isovolumetric relaxation time) of the right ventricle increased from 52.4 ± 11.33 to 58.17 ± 10.73; the (isovolumetric contraction time) decreased from 70.47 ± 9.9 to 65.2 ± 7.9. All changes were statistically significant at P < 0.001. Conclusions: Long-term regular exercise in soccer players is associated with cardiac alterations in the form of bradycardia, early repolarization, inverted T-wave, concentric LVH, and a tendency toward diastolic impairment of both ventricles.

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