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Newly recognized feature of athlete's heart found to be more prevalent in black male athletes

New study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology organized by the World Heart Federation

Dubai (19 April 2012): Left-ventricular hyper-trabeculation (LVHT) – a feature of certain cardiomyopathies (chronic disease of the heart muscle) – has been found to be more common in black, male athletes according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology.

A study of 692 athletes carried out in the UK, found that LVHT was more prevalent in athletes compared with non-athletes (6.8 per cent compared with 0.4 per cent). None of the individuals with LVHT, however, fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for any form of cardiomyopathy. Moreover, LVHT was found to be significantly more common in afro-Caribbean (black) athletes than in other athletes (13.2 per cent versus 4 per cent).

Regular athletic training results in physiological adaptation of a person's heart structure and function. And while many functional changes have been identified, LVHT has not previously been recognized as a feature of "athlete's heart". Rather LVHT is a known feature of cardiomyopathy, which remains the commonest cause of exercise-related sudden cardiac death in athletes.

"The high prevalence of LVHT among athletes suggests that this may represent part of the spectrum of cardiac adaptations that are known to make up "athletes heart'," said Dr. Navin Chandra, St Georges University of London. "Given that LVHT is a feature of sudden cardiac death, its prevalence among athletes creates greater challenges for doctors trying to differentiate between athlete's heart and a serious medical condition, particularly in black male athletes where the prevalence is much higher."

Study design

The study was carried out from 2006-2011, during which time 692 athletes and 455 sedentary participants underwent cardiac evaluation that included ECG and echocardiography. Results were analyzed according to the European Society of Cardiology sports cardiology consensus.
About the World Congress of Cardiology

The World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions (WCC) is the official congress of the World Heart Federation and is held every two years. Through the Congress the World Heart Federation offers an international stage for the latest developments in science and public outreach in the field of cardiovascular health. The WCC places emphasis on the complementary nature of science and public outreach and strives to spread the message that through individual, community and patient-care interventions, the growing epidemic of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented. For more information, please visit; keep up with the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WCC2012Dubai.
About the World Heart Federation

The World Heart Federation is dedicated to leading the global fight against heart disease and stroke with a focus on low- and middle-income countries via a united community of more than 200 member organizations. With its members, the World Heart Federation works to build global commitment to addressing cardiovascular health at the policy level, generates and exchanges ideas, shares best practice, advances scientific knowledge and promotes knowledge transfer to tackle cardiovascular disease – the world's number one killer. It is a growing membership organization that brings together the strength of medical societies and heart foundations from more than 100 countries. Through our collective efforts we can help people all over the world to lead longer and better heart-healthy lives. For more information, please visit;;

Charanjit Jagait | EurekAlert!
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