Alterations in Cardiac Mechanics Following Ultra-Endurance Exercise: Insights from Left and Right Ventricular Area-Deformation Loops

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The aim of this study was to use novel area-deformation (ε) loops to interrogate the interaction between the right ventricular (RV) and left ventricular (LV) mechanics following a 100-mile endurance run.


Fifteen participants (mean body mass, 70.1 ± 8.8 kg; mean age, 40 ± 8 years) were recruited for the study. Echocardiography was performed before the race, after the race, and 6 hours into recovery. RV and LV area and longitudinal ε were assessed using standard and speckle-tracking echocardiography. Following cubic spline interpolation, these variables were obtained across the same cardiac cycle and used to derive area-ε loops.


The RV area-ε loop demonstrated a rightward shift after the race, with increased RV area (from 26.0 to 27.1 cm2) and reduced peak RV ε (from −28.6% to −25.8%). The recovery RV area-ε loop was similar to the postrace loop. A leftward shift was observed in the LV area-ε loop after the race, secondary to reduced LV area (from 35.8 to 32.5 cm2) and reduced peak ε (from −18.3% to −16.6%). In recovery, LV ε values returned toward baseline.


A 100-mile ultramarathon resulted in a rightward shift in the RV area-ε loop as a result of RV dilatation. There was a concomitant leftward shift in the LV area-ε loop as a result of underfilling of the left ventricle. At 6 hours after exercise, there was a partial recovery of the left ventricle, while RV function remained depressed. It appears that changes in RV function do not have a serial impact on the left ventricle during recovery from ultra-endurance activity.

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