The Female Athlete´s Heart: Facts and Fallacies
Purpose of the review
For many years, competitive sport has been dominated by men. Recent times have witnessed a significant increase in women participating in elite sports. As most studies investigated male athletes, with few reports on female counterparts, it is crucial to have a better understanding on physiological cardiac adaptation to exercise in female athletes, to distinguish normal phenotypes from potentially fatal cardiac diseases. This review reports on cardiac adaptation to exercise in females.
Recent studies show that electrical, structural, and functional cardiac changes due to physiological adaptation to exercise differ in male and female athletes. Women tend to exhibit eccentric hypertrophy, and while concentric hypertrophy or concentric remodeling may be a normal finding in male athletes, it should be evaluated carefully in female athletes as it may be a sign of pathology. Although few studies on veteran female athletes are available, women seem to be affected by atrial fibrillation, coronary atherosclerosis, and myocardial fibrosis less than male counterparts.
Males and females exhibit many biological, anatomical, and hormonal differences, and cardiac adaptation to exercise is no exception. The increasing participation of women in sports should stimulate the scientific community to develop large, longitudinal studies aimed at a better understanding of cardiac adaptation to exercise in female athletes.
KeywordsFemale athletes Cardiac remodeling Sudden cardiac death
arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
coronary artery calcification
coronary artery disease
cardiac magnetic resonance
left ventricular end diastolic diameter
left ventricular hypertrophy
left ventricular mass
left ventricular wall thickness
relative wall thickness
sudden cardiac death
T wave inversion
Autor / Fonte:Clea Simone S S Colombo, Gherardo Finocchiaro Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine 2018 November 3, 20 (12): 101