Vascular and cardiac remodeling in world class professional cyclists

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Abstract

Background

Numerous studies have demonstrated that left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is often associated with conditioning.

Methods and Results

The aim of the study was to evaluate cardiac and carotid artery changes induced by professional cycling. We collected M-model left ventricle and B-mode right common carotid artery data from 149 male professional cyclists before the 1995 "Tour de France" race and 52 male control subjects. LV mass indexed to body surface area in cyclists was double that in control subjects, with no overlap of 95% confidence intervals (cyclists 100.9 to 187 g/m2 and control subjects 51.8 to 96.3 g/m2). Both mean arterial diameter and mean arterial diastolic intima-media thickness (IMT) were 13% higher in cyclists than in control subjects, with overlap of 95% confidence intervals (for arterial IMT 0.45 to 0.65 mm in cyclists and 0.38 to 0.60 mm in control subjects).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that intense cycling has an effect on the cardiovascular system, more pronounced on the left ventricle and less pronounced on large arteries. Nevertheless, athletic training should be considered as a potential determinant of carotid modification.

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