The aim of our study was to evaluate left ventricular (LV) systolic function in a team of elite rugby players using new echocardiographic techniques: Tissue Doppler, two-dimensional (2D) Speckle tracking and three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography.
Material and Method. Twenty six male athletes from the regional rugby players’ team were evaluated. The team was divided in two groups of athletes based on the predominance of dynamic aerobic or anaerobic effort performed: thirteen of them (group 1) - anaerobe effort, the others thirteen (group 2) - aerobic effort. All athletes underwent a complete physical exam, complete 2D and 3D transthoracic echocardiographic exam at rest. Standard 2D measurements, Tissue Doppler parameters, 2D speckle tracking global longitudinal strain (2D GLS) and 3D global longitudinal strain (3D GLS) were evaluated.
Results. There were statistically significant differences between the two groups of athletes. Those in group 1 had higher body mass index (BMI) (p=0.002), left atrial area (LAA) (p=0.006), 3D left ventricular enddiastolic and endsystolic volume (LVEDV3D and LVESV3D) (p=0.006 respective p=0.011), 3D left ventricular mass (LVMass3D) (p=0.002), pulse Doppler diastolic A’velocity of lateral mitral annulus (A’lat) (p=0.004), left atrial diameter (LAD) (p=0.001), pulse Doppler systolic velocity of medial mitral annulus (S’med) (p=0.01), mitral annular plane systolic excursion (MAPSE) (p=0.033) than those in group 2, who had higher diastolic E’ velocity of lateral (E’lat) and medial (E’med) mitral annulus (p=0.047 respective p=0.021). There were no significant differences of 2D GLS respective 3D GLS between the two groups (p=0.59, respective p=0.27). Athletes who had greater LV hypertrophy and LV mass indexed higher had a better response in tests of anaerobic exercise capacity. There was a statistically significant association between the 3D ejection fraction (EF) and anaerobic and aerobic exercise capacity.
Conclusions. Our study revealed interesting interrelations between 2D GLS, 3D GLS, and LV hypertrophy and test results of effort capacity in a group of elite rugby players.
athletes, speckle tracking, 3D echocardiography
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