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Female former athletes may not face risk of later 'athlete's heart'.

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Women who exercise strenuously do not appear to develop left ventricular hypertrophy with atrial fibrillation as they age, as do some male former athletes, according to a study of former elite athletes in Sweden.

That conclusion emerged from a study that addressed the question of whether women who exercise develop increased heart muscle mass that might be prone to arrhythmia when they became deconditioned. The study compared 20 postmenopausal, formerly elite endurance athletes with 19 sedentary control females of similar age, Dr. Magnus Hagmar said at the annual meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

The women were examined with resting ECG, Doppler echocardiography, and exercise stress testing, said Dr. Magnus of Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.

The former athletes were found to have larger stroke volumes (73 mL) than the control subjects (63 mL), and to have larger left atrial and ventricular diameters than the controls. But the athletes had no increased thickness in their left ventricular walls, compared with the controls, Dr. Hagmar reported.

Only three of the former athletes had ST-segment depressions during the exercise stress testing, but nine of the controls did.

None of the women were on any medications except hormone therapy, and all but two of the former athletes were regular exercisers, though they trained much less than they had when younger, Dr. Hagmar said.
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Title Annotation:Cardiovascular Medicine
Author:Kirn, Timothy F.
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CBRI
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:225
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