Myocardial contractility of the left ventricle (LV) is related to arterial distensibility. Sport activity is frequently associated with changes in both LV and arterial functions. This study aimed to find correlations between three-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography-derived segmental LV deformation parameters and echocardiographically assessed aortic stiffness index (ASI) in athletes. This study comprised 26 young elite athletes (mean age: 26.7 ± 8.4 years, nine men).
Among segmental circumferential strains (CSs), only that of apical anterior (r = 0.40, p = 0.05), septal (r = 0.47, p = 0.01), inferior (r = 0.59, p = 0.001), lateral (r = 0.44, p < 0.05), and midventricular anteroseptal (r = 0.44, p < 0.05) segments correlated with ASI, whereas LV-CS of the midventricular anterior segment showed a correlation tendency. Only longitudinal strain of basal anteroseptal (r = −0.46, p < 0.05) and inferoseptal (r = −0.57, p < 0.01) segments showed correlations with ASI, whereas that of the basal anterior segment had only a tendency to correlate. Some segmental multidirectional strains also correlated with ASI.
Correlations could be demonstrated between increased aortic stiffness and circular function of the apical and midventricular LV fibers and longitudinal motion of the basal septum and LV anterior wall (part of LV outflow tract) in maintaining circulation in the elite athletes.