Objective: Superior global cardiac performance (ie stroke volume) is classically reported after training in children. Current knowledge of the impact of exercise training on myocardial relaxation, a major component of left ventricular (LV) filling and subsequently stroke volume, is, however, limited in the paediatric population. This study aimed to investigate the effect of aerobic training on LV wall motion velocities by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) in healthy children.
Methods: 25 children (11 girls, 14 boys) were enrolled in a 2 month high-intensity aerobic training programme and 25 (12 girls and 13 boys) served as controls. The children (9–11 years old) performed a graded maximal exercise test on a treadmill to evaluate maximal oxygen uptake. Standard Doppler echocardiography and TDI measurements were performed at baseline and end of the study. Tissue Doppler systolic, early and late myocardial velocities were obtained at the mitral annulus in the septal, lateral, inferior and posterior walls.
Results: Maximal oxygen uptake increased by 6.5% (before: 51.6 (SD 4.2), after: 55.0 (4.5) ml/min/kg p<0.001) after training. A modest but significant increase in left ventricular end-diastolic diameter was also noticed (before: 46.1 (3.4), after: 48.3 (4.3) mm.BSA-1/2, p<0.001), whereas left ventricular wall thickness and mass were unchanged. Neither transmitral inflow velocities nor early and late wall motion (Em: before = 18.4 (2.7), after = 18.0 (2.3) cm/s, Am: before = 6.8 (1.2), after = 6.7 (1.3) cm/s) were affected by training. Shortening fraction and regional systolic function (Sm: before = 10.1 (1.6), after = 10.2 (1.4) cm/s) by TDI were also unchanged.
Conclusion: High-intensity aerobic sessions repeated over a 2 month period failed to improve regional diastolic function assessed by TDI in healthy young children.
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