The Female Athlete´s Heart: Facts and Fallacies

Abstract

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 findings

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.

Summary

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.

Keywords

Female athletes Cardiac remodeling Sudden cardiac death 

Abbreviations

AF

atrial fibrillation

ARVC

arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

CAC

coronary artery calcification

CAD

coronary artery disease

CMR

cardiac magnetic resonance

DHT

dihydrotestosterone

HCM

hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

LV

left ventricular

LVEDD

left ventricular end diastolic diameter

LVH

left ventricular hypertrophy

LVM

left ventricular mass

LVWT

left ventricular wall thickness

RV

right ventricle

RWT

relative wall thickness

SCD

sudden cardiac death

TWI

T wave inversion


Autor / Fonte:Clea Simone S S Colombo, Gherardo Finocchiaro Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine 2018 November 3, 20 (12): 101
Link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11936-018-0699-7