Objective In this study, the impact of regular training on left ventricle morphology in a group of athletes with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) was evaluated.
Design Longitudinal cohort study. A group of competitive athletes with BAV was followed up with a yearly standard echocardiographic examination for 5 years.
Setting Sport Medicine Centre, University of Florence, Pre-Participation Protocol Study
Participants A group of 88 consecutive athletes diagnosed with BAV was identified in the period January to December 1999, and 30 of these completed a 5-year follow-up. They were compared with a group of 56 athletes with a normal tricuspid valve (TAV).
Results BAV athletes showed significant progressive increase in left ventricular dimensions and aortic diameters at four levels. The values were within the range of the general and non-athletic BAV populations. In TAV athletes, the aortic and left ventricle dimensions did not increase significantly and remained within physiological range.
Conclusions Left ventricular dimensions in competitive BAV athletes remain within the normal range. There is, however, a significant progressive increase in the BAV group compared with the TAV group. These results are in agreement with data obtained in previous studies on the non-athletic BAV population. Sports activity does not have an additional effect on cardiac morphology in athletes with asymptomatic BAV associated with mild regurgitation, for at least 5 years.
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