Short QT Interval: A Novel Predictor of Androgen Abuse in Strength Trained Athletes

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Abstract

Objectives

To find the relationship between anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) using and QT interval in athletes.

Methods

Between January 1, 2005 and May 31, 2007, we examined QTc interval duration in 165 consecutive male professional bodybuilders [age: 32.1 ± 4.6 years]. Of these, 79 were AAS users. The control group included 90 sedentary age and gender matched subjects [none of them were AAS users].

Results

The QTc interval of AAS abusing bodybuilders was significantly shorter compared with QTc interval in AAS-free bodybuilders and control group. Short QTc interval (≤380 ms) was an independent predictor of AAS abusing in the multivariate analysis.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, there is no published report regarding electrocardiographic diagnosis and screening of AAS abusing athletes. In the present study, we present an easy and applicable method to screen and diagnose AAS abusing among professional bodybuilders. In the presence of QTc interval ≤ 380 ms in a bodybuilder, one would predict AAS abusing with 83% sensitivity and 88% specificity.

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