LEFT ATRIAL (LA) EXERCISE RESPONSES IN UNTRAINED AND TRAINED MALE ADOLESCENT FOOTBALL PLAYERS
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The functional and structural adaptations of the left atrium (LA) following consistent specific football training have been investigated over an 8 month period, however it is unknown if these adaptations will be retained with the inclusion of off seasons. Additionally, there is a lack of research in the acute adaptations of the LA in response to exercise. Therefore, this study compared LA volumes, tissue velocities, longitudinal strain, and diastolic function at rest and sub-maximal exercise between a group of football players (7 males, age 20 ± 1 years) who participated in >5 hours specific football training and at least two games (another ~3h) per week, and a group of healthy untrained participants (9 males, 21 ± 2 years) who participated in ≤ 2 hours of exercise per week. All participants underwent echocardiographic examination at rest and during exercise (40% V̇o2 max). LA volumes were significantly larger in the football trained group in comparison to the untrained group at rest (P=0.0164) and during exercise (P=0.0022), however there were no differences in LA tissue velocities, filling pressure or systolic and diastolic function at rest or exercise. It is concluded that structural adaptations such as increase LA volume can occur at rest and exercise within the LA as a result of long term football training, despite the presence of an off season and without any changes in LA function. Additionally, the contribution of LA volume to overall stroke volume slightly increases with sub-maximal exercise. Without initially aiming to do so, the study also provides some support to the notion that the cause of LA hypertrophy at rest can be differentiated between training and cardiovascular disease via assessment of LA pressures.
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