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Electrocardiographic abnormalities and diagnostic criteria in athletic overtraining
  1. Papoutsidakis Evangelos1,2,
  2. Turmo Antonio1,2,
  3. Bellver Montse1
  1. 1University of Barcelona, School of Sports Medicine, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Centre of High Performance, Sant Cugat del Valles, Barcelona, Spain


The overtraining syndrome describes the condition of prolonged imbalance between training load and recovery, with increased incidence in high level performance sports. Is very important to manage this syndrome not only for the consequences at the performance of the athlete, but also because of the potential risk of athlete's health. Although the symptoms vary from one person to another, this syndrome enclose decrease in athletic performance, prolonged fatigue, electrocardiographic changes and psychological symptoms.

The aim of the present study was to provide some aspects of cardiovascular consequences and electrocardiographic abnormalities that may be seen and to up to date the diagnostic criteria of detecting this syndrome, by using as method a systematic revision of the literature.

ECG abnormalities at this syndrome include extreme low heart rate, T wave inversions, atrial-ventricle block, ST segment depressions, atrial-ventricle dislocation and many type of arrhythmias. There happens a cardiac autonomic imbalance with extensive autonomic modulation of the athlete, depressed left ventricular function, impairment of the maximal anaerobic capacity with a reduced tolerance of acidosis and decreased of maximum oxygen consumption.

Although of the multitude of publications for overtraining syndrome, actually we have limited available tools for valid diagnosis. Thus, is important the role of prevention by monitoring of the athlete by the sports physician, controlled training, ECG records and sufficient recovery.

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