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Based on the data collected by KNOLL Hungary Ltd. in Hungary in 1999, 37% of the adult population is overweight while 23% is obese. Inappropriate diet containing excess calories and physical inactivity are responsible for these statistical values. In their former studies, the authors investigated the effects of different stages of obesity on the cardiovascular system, and have verified that even moderate obesity elicits pathological geometric and functional changes in the heart. In the present study, effect of a half-year-long life-style modification program on the morphologic and functional characteristics of the heart was investigated in twenty-one obese women. Life-style modification contained a diet with reduced energy uptake (1000–1300 Cal/day) and a regular physical training of minimum 3–4 hours weekly. By the end of the sixth month the weight loss was 5.1 kg (5.9%) on an average. There was a marked reduction in cardiac dimensions measured by echocardiography, with a very slight, non-significant decrease in left ventricular internal diameter, and a marked, significant reduction in the left ventricular wall thickness. Decrease of the left ventricular muscle mass exceeded the decrease of body weight. A marked elevation was found in the E/A quotient that reflected a definite improvement in diastolic function. Results indicate that physical training programs have a favourable effect on the echocardiographic parameters, therefore the process is reversible even without a pharmacological intervention.

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The purpose of this cross-sectional investigation was to estimate the age at which specific traits of the “athlete's heart”first appear and how they evolve from the beginning of regular physical training until young adulthood in healthy active males. Male athletes (n=389) and non-athletes (n=55) aged between 9 and 20 years were examined by two-dimensionally guided M-mode and Doppler echocardiography. Intragroup differences were examined by t-tests for independent samples between age groups of two years each. Morphologic variables were related to body size by using ratio indices in which the power terms of numerator and denominator were matched. Relative left ventricular muscle mass (LVMM) was significantly larger in the athletic males at age of 11–12, and this significant difference was maintained with advancing age. Most of this increase of LVMM could be attributed to the increase in wall thickness that became significantly manifest first in the 13- to 14-year-old athletic subjects but was demonstrable in all the other groups. A significantly larger left ventricular internal diameter was only found in the age-group of 15–16. Fractional shortening percentage (FS%) did not show any change, while resting heart rate was decreased in our athletic groups.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different sport activities on cardiac adaptation. Echocardiographic data of 137 athletes and 21 non-athletes were measured and compared in two age groups 15-16 and 17-18 years of age. Athletes belonged into three groups according to their sports activity (endurance events, power athletes, ball game players). The observed variables were related to body size by indices in which the exponents of the numerator and the denominator were matched. Left ventricular hypertrophy was manifest in all athletic groups. Power athletes had the largest mean left ventricular wall thickness (LVWTd) in both age groups. In the older age group differences between the athletic groups were smaller, but the endurance and power athletes had significantly higher wall thickness. Left ventricular internal diameter (LVIDd) was the largest in the endurance athletes, while mean relative muscle mass (LVMM) was the largest in the power athletes. LVMM of the older endurance athletes was significantly larger. Muscular quotient (MQ) was the highest in the endurance athletes; in the 17-18-year group there was no inter-event difference. Bradycardia was most manifest in the endurance athletes and ball game players, power athletes had higher resting heart rates than non-athletic subjects. It can be inferred that endurance training induces firstly an enlargement of the left ventricle what is then followed by an increase of muscle mass. In the studied functional and regulatory parameters no difference was found between the athletic and non-athletic groups.

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Acta Physiologica Hungarica
Authors: Zs. Major, E. Csajági, Zs. Kneffel, T. Kováts, I. Szauder, Z. Sidó, and Gábor Pavlik

Characteristics of the athlete’s heart have been investigated mostly in the left ventricle (LV); reports referring to the right ventricle (RV) have only appeared recently. The aim of the present study was to compare the training effects on RV and LV in elite male endurance athletes. To this end, echocardiography was conducted in 52 elite endurance athletes (A) and in 25 non-athletes (NA). Differences between A and NA in the morphology was more marked in the RV (body-size-matched (rel.)) long axis diastolic diameter (RVLADd): 63.4 ± 6.3 vs. 56.4 ± 6.3; rel. short axis diastolic diameter (RVSADd): 27.3 ± 3.6 vs. 23.6 ± 2.7 mm/m, RV diastolic area 28 ± 5.0 vs. 21.3 ± 4.3 cm2 in all cases, p < 0.001) than in the LV (rel. LVLADd: 63.8 mm/m ± 5.6 vs. 60.7 mm/m ± 6.6, p < 0.05, rel.LVSADd 37.8 ± 3.1 vs. 35.3 ± 2.4, no difference). In the athletes ratios of peak early to late diastolic filling velocity (2.07 ± 0.51 vs. 1.75 ± 0.36, p < 0.01), the TDI-determined E’/A’ ratio in the septal (1.89 ± 0.55 vs. 1.62 ± 0.55, p < 0.05) and lateral (2.62 ± 0.72, vs. 2.18 ± 0.87, p < 0.001) walls were significantly higher than in NA only in the LV. Results indicate that in male endurance athletes morphologic adaptation is similar or slightly stronger in the RV than in the LV, functional adaptation seems to be stronger in the LV.

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