Morpho-functional characterization of cardiac chambers of young athletes of gymnastics by Transthoracic Echocardiography

  • Virgínia Fonseca Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Diogo Colaço Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Vanessa Neves Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisboa, Portugal


In response to the practice of intense and prolonged physical activity morphological and functional adaptations appear at the cardiovascular level, however, these physiological adaptations can be confused with pathological alterations. This study aimed to characterize, by transthoracic echocardiography, cardiac morphology and function, in young athletes of competitive gymnastics. This study was carried out in a population of athletes of feminine artistic gymnastics, with ages between 12 and 15 years old. All subjects (n = 8) underwent transthoracic echocardiography, following the defined study protocol. Statistical analysis of the study variables was performed using descriptive statistics and the results were considered statistically significant when p < 0.05. In the left cavities, no statistically significant differences were found in ventricular thickness, mass and diameter. On the other hand, there was a significant increase in the area of the left atrium. The increase of the left atrium is common in athletes due to increased pressure in the cavity during exercise and seems to be influenced by the type of training, mainly by the combination between isometric and isotonic training. Regarding the Diastolic Function, there was a significant increase of the E wave and the E/A Ratio. In several studies related to diastolic function in athletes, an increase in E-wave velocity and an increase in the E/A Ratio have been observed. These findings are suggestive of a supernormal diastolic function mediated by a combination of improved initial ventricular relaxation and increased left ventricular compliance. With this study, it was possible to conclude that in what respected the young female gymnastic contestants of the sample, all the parameters analysed by transthoracic echocardiography were within the limits of normality, when compared with the Guidelines. There were statistically significant differences for the mean reference value in the left atrial area and diastolic function.


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