Athlete’s heart

Common Name(s)

Athlete’s heart, Athletic heart syndrome

Athletic heart syndrome (AHS) is a condition where the heart is enlarged due to frequent, dynamic exercise. Dynamic exercise includes types of cardio workouts like running, swimming, and biking. Here, the heart becomes enlarged because it has to work hard to get enough oxygen to the body during intense workouts. This syndrome can occur in people who perform dynamic exercise more than 5 hours a week. The syndrome is benign (not harmful), but it can be mistaken for or cover up a more serious condition. The symptoms of AHS are very similar to a serious congenital condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so it is very important for a doctor to confirm that AHS is the cause of the symptoms.

The hearts of those with AHS act in ways that would be concerning if they did not have AHS. AHS is characterized by a very slow heart rate (bradycardia) of 40-60 bpm (beats per minute). This is compared to a normal heart rate of 60-100bpm. Those with AHS also have an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) and thickening of the muscular wall of the heart (cardiac hypertrophy). Finally, a doctor may be able to hear an irregular sound in the heartbeat (a murmur, specifically called an S3 gallop) when they listen with a stethoscope.

To diagnose AHS, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your workout schedule. In a follow up, they may use an electrocardiogram (EKG) to test your heart’s electrical impulses. A stress test may also be performed. Athletic heart syndrome is not dangerous and signs usually decrease if a person stops exercising. In fact, a doctor may recommend a deconditioning period to verify the symptoms decreased and thus confirm that there are no other underlying heart problems. Treatment for AHS is not necessary. If you have been diagnosed with AHS, talk with your cardiologist (heart specialist) to learn more about AHS. Support groups are a good source of information and can connect you with others living with AHS.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Athlete’s heart" for support, advocacy or research.

There are currently no organizations listed in Disease InfoSearch that support this condition. Create a listing.

 

 

General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Athlete’s heart" returned 33 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Left ventricular remodeling and the athlete's heart, irrespective of quality load training.
 

Author(s): Giorgio Galanti, Laura Stefani, Gabriele Mascherini, Valentina Di Tante, Loira Toncelli

Journal:

 

Regular physical exercise determines a progressive increase of the cardiac mass known as adaptive hypertrophy. Up to now, two morphological echocardiographic heart patterns of athletes have been described by Morganroth in 1975: predominant augmentation of wall thickness, and major ...

Last Updated: 18 Nov 2016

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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Athlete's Heart, or Both: A Case of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Regression.
 

Author(s): Kalie Y Kebed, J Martijn Bos, Nandan S Anavekar, Sharon L Mulvagh, Michael J Ackerman, Steve R Ommen

Journal: Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2015 Jul;8(7):e003312.

 

Last Updated: 11 Jul 2015

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The multi-modality cardiac imaging approach to the Athlete's heart: an expert consensus of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging.
 

Author(s): Maurizio Galderisi, Nuno Cardim, Antonello D'Andrea, Oliver Bruder, Bernard Cosyns, Laurent Davin, Erwan Donal, Thor Edvardsen, Antonio Freitas, Gilbert Habib, Anastasia Kitsiou, Sven Plein, Steffen E Petersen, Bogdan A Popescu, Stephen Schroeder, Christof Burgstahler, Patrizio Lancellotti

Journal: Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2015 Apr;16(4):353.

 

The term 'athlete's heart' refers to a clinical picture characterized by a slow heart rate and enlargement of the heart. A multi-modality imaging approach to the athlete's heart aims to differentiate physiological changes due to intensive training in the athlete's heart from serious ...

Last Updated: 12 May 2015

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Athlete’s heart" returned 10 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Athlete's heart and cardiovascular care of the athlete: scientific and clinical update.
 

Author(s): Aaron L Baggish, Malissa J Wood

Journal: Circulation. 2011 Jun;123(23):2723-35.

 

Last Updated: 14 Jun 2011

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The incognita of the known: the athlete's heart syndrome.
 

Author(s): Erdem Kaşıkçıoğlu

Journal: Anadolu Kardiyol Derg. 2011 Jun;11(4):351-9.

 

Long-term athletic activity causes morphological and functional changes in the heart characterized as left ventricle cavity dimension changes, wall thickness and mass increase and rhythm conduction changes. This condition is identified as "athlete's heart syndrome". The changes that ...

Last Updated: 30 May 2011

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The athlete's heart vs. the failing heart: can signaling explain the two distinct outcomes?
 

Author(s): Kate L Weeks, Julie R McMullen

Journal: Physiology (Bethesda). 2011 Apr;26(2):97-105.

 

Cardiac remodeling is typically associated with disease and can lead to heart failure. In contrast, remodeling that occurs in the athlete's heart is considered an adaptive physiological response. This review provides an overview of signaling mechanisms responsible for inducing left ...

Last Updated: 13 Apr 2011

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Last Updated: 11 May 2017

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Semmelweis Sport Study
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Athletes Heart

 

Last Updated: 18 Jan 2017

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The Effects of Dark Chocolate Implementation in Top-level Athletes
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Oxidative Stress; Athletes Heart; Physical Activity

 

Last Updated: 18 Sep 2017

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