Newly recognized feature of athlete's heart found to be more prevalent in black male athletes

April 19, 2012

Left-ventricular hyper-trabeculation (LVHT) – a feature of certain cardiomyopathies (chronic disease of the heart muscle) – has been found to be more common in black, male athletes according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology.

A study of 692 athletes carried out in the UK, found that LVHT was more prevalent in athletes compared with non-athletes (6.8 per cent compared with 0.4 per cent). None of the individuals with LVHT, however, fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for any form of cardiomyopathy. Moreover, LVHT was found to be significantly more common in afro-Caribbean (black) athletes than in other athletes (13.2 per cent versus 4 per cent).

Regular athletic training results in physiological adaptation of a person's structure and function. And while many functional changes have been identified, LVHT has not previously been recognized as a feature of "athlete's heart". Rather LVHT is a known feature of cardiomyopathy, which remains the commonest cause of exercise-related sudden cardiac death in athletes.

"The high prevalence of LVHT among athletes suggests that this may represent part of the spectrum of cardiac adaptations that are known to make up "athletes heart'," said Dr. Navin Chandra, St Georges University of London. "Given that LVHT is a feature of sudden cardiac death, its prevalence among athletes creates greater challenges for doctors trying to differentiate between athlete's heart and a serious medical condition, particularly in black male athletes where the prevalence is much higher."

The study was carried out from 2006-2011, during which time 692 athletes and 455 sedentary participants underwent cardiac evaluation that included ECG and echocardiography. Results were analyzed according to the European Society of Cardiology sports cardiology consensus.

Explore further: Heart checks urged for athletes

Related Stories

Heart checks urged for athletes

October 4, 2006

Italian researchers say making young athletes undergo mandatory heart checkups may establish their risk for sudden cardiac death.

Positive exercise testing in athletes: What does that mean?

September 2, 2008

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) during sports activity is an uncommon, but catastrophic event. Different efforts to reduce the risk of SCD related to sports have been undertaken. What is the role of the exercise test in this context? ...

Should athletes undergo mandatory ECG screening?

September 30, 2010

Should athletes have to undergo mandatory electrocardiographic screening (also known as ECG or heart trace) before competing? Doctors debate the issue in this week's British Medical Journal.

Recommended for you

Biomarkers may help better predict who will have a stroke

August 24, 2016

People with high levels of four biomarkers in the blood may be more likely to develop a stroke than people with low levels of the biomarkers, according to a study published in the August 24, 2016, online issue of Neurology, ...

Amyloid-related heart failure now detectable with imaging test

August 24, 2016

A type of heart failure caused by a build-up of amyloid can be accurately diagnosed and prognosticated with an imaging technique, eliminating the need for a biopsy, according to a multicenter study led by researchers at Columbia ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.