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Recreational marathon running poses no left ventricular trabeculation risk

23 Aug 2020

Recreational marathon running and training does not seem to induce left ventricular (LV) trabeculation in novices, a recent study has shown.

The study included 68 novice marathon runners (mean age, 29.5±3.2 years; 53 percent male) in whom indices of LV trabeculation were measured using echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Assessments were performed 6 months before the London Marathon, and 2 weeks after.

At baseline, the median self-reported physical activity level was 2.0 hours per week, and participants logged a median race finish time of 4 hours and 31 minutes. Cardiac dimensions were within the normal range, and there was no conclusive evidence of cardiomyopathy in any of the participants.

None of the participants had >3 trabeculations, and the indices used for trabeculation assessment showed poor concordance.

The Jenni (p=0.77), Jacquier (p=0.76), and Captur (p=0.37) measurements, for instance, did not change between baseline and post-marathon assessments, while the Chin X/Y ratio demonstrated a small but significant increase in trabeculation (p=0.02). The Petersen NC/C ratio, on the other hand, found a small drop in trabeculation (p<0.01).

“Despite little within-subject variability in LV trabeculation over the study period, methods of quantification for determining the prevalence of excessive LV trabeculation were highly discordant,” the researchers said, noting that the exercise doses in the present study could have been too modest and insufficient to trigger cardiac remodeling.

“Longitudinal study involving a high-dose exercise stimulus and long interval imaging follow up would be required to investigate whether LV trabeculation might be induced by competitive athlete doses of exercise in predisposed individuals,” they added.

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