Background: The cardiac characteristics of various types of athletes have been defined by echocardiography. Athletes involved in predominately static exercise, such as bodybuilders, have been found to have more concentric hypertrophy, whereas those involved in dynamic exercise, such as long distance runners, have more eccentric hypertrophy. Tennis at the elite level is a sport that is a combination of static and dynamic exercise.
Objective: To characterise left ventricular geometry including left ventricular hypertrophy by echocardiography in male professional tennis players.
Design: Retrospective study of screening echocardiograms that were performed on male professional tennis players.
Setting: All echocardiograms were performed at the Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, Florida, USA) between 1998–2000.
Participants: A total of 41 male professional tennis players, with a mean age of 23.
Results: Left ventricular hypertrophy was present in 30 of 41 subjects (73%, 95% CI: 57%–86%). The majority of players manifested eccentric hypertrophy (n = 22, 54%). Concentric hypertrophy (n = 9, 22%) and normal geometry (n = 7, 17%) were encountered with similar frequency. Only 7% (n = 3) manifested concentric remodelling. The mean thickness of both the interventricular septum and the posterior wall was 11.0 mm. The mean LVEDd was 55 mm. The mean RWT was 0.41. The mean LVMI was 130 gm/m2 and the mean EF was 64%. Five of the 41 subjects had an abnormal septal thickness of 13 mm.
Conclusion: This was the first study to specifically describe the full range of echocardiographically-determined left ventricular geometry in professional male tennis players. The majority of subjects exhibited abnormal geometry, predominantly eccentric hypertrophy.
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