Study sees transient heart dysfunction in some long-distance runners

May 17, 2009

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO--A new study using advanced cardiac imaging technology indicates that cardiac abnormalities experienced by some marathon runners following competition are temporary, and do not result in damage to the heart muscle. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba, marked the first use of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, or CMR, in a post-marathon setting.

The research will be presented on Sunday, May 17, at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

"Although previous studies of marathon runners have demonstrated biochemical evidence of cardiac injury and have correlated these findings with echocardiographic evidence of cardiac dysfunction, this was the first time CMR has been used to further evaluate and understand the effects of marathon running on the heart," said study investigator Davinder S. Jassal, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology, radiology and physiology at St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre in Winnipeg.

The study examined the cardiac health of 14 runners who participated in the full 2008 Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg, Canada. All runners were classified, for purposes of the study, as "non-elite," meaning they participated on a casual, non-professional basis, with limited or no training. Prior to the marathon, each study participant underwent a comprehensive health screening, including blood tests to determine the levels of cardiac biomarkers, factors present in the blood that reflect the health of the heart muscle. Following the race, additional blood samples were taken and echocardiograms and CMR were performed.

Earlier studies have confirmed that cardiac biomarkers are elevated in many casual, non-professional athletes following competition, indicating possible damage to the heart muscle. In this study, echocardiograms and CMR performed immediately after competition revealed abnormalities, including irregularities in diastolic filling (relaxation abnormalities) on both sides of the heart and a decrease from 64 percent to 43 percent in the pumping function of the right ventricle. Although the cardiac biomarkers were elevated post marathon, there was no evidence of direct permanent injury to the heart muscle on CMR imaging.

"By using CMR, we were able to definitively show that these fluctuations do not result in any true damage of the heart, and the right ventricular dysfunction is transient, recovering one week following the race," Dr. Jassal noted.

The researchers are planning additional studies to determine whether these abnormalities may result in permanent damage in runners who participate in more than one marathon during a 12-month period.
-end-


American Thoracic Society

Related Heart Muscle Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Muscle protein abundant in the heart plays key role in blood clotting during heart attack
A prevalent heart protein known as cardiac myosin, which is released into the body when a person suffers a heart attack, can cause blood to thicken or clot--worsening damage to heart tissue, a new study shows.

Heart muscle cells change their energy source during heart regeneration
Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) have found that the muscle cells in the heart of zebrafish change their metabolism during heart regeneration.

New study may have the reason why heart medication gives muscle pain
The McMaster research team found muscle cells treated with statins released the amino acid called glutamate at much higher levels than muscle cells that were untreated.

Vitamin E found to prevent muscle damage after heart attack
Early studies from scientists at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia and Jena University in Germany have found Vitamin E could be used to save the muscle from dying during a heart attack.

A simple method to improve heart-attack repair using stem cell-derived heart muscle cells
The heart cannot regenerate muscle after a heart attack, and this can lead to lethal heart failure.

What is known -- and not known -- about heart muscle diseases in children
Cardiomyopathies (heart muscle diseases) in children are the focus of a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association that provides insight into the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases as well as identifying future research priorities.

Being overweight as a teen may be associated with higher risk of heart muscle disease in adulthood
The risk of developing cardiomyopathy, which often leads to heart failure, increased in adult Swedish men who were even mildly overweight around age 18.

Heart patch could limit muscle damage in heart attack aftermath
Guided by computer simulations, an international team of researchers has developed an adhesive patch that can provide support for damaged heart tissue, potentially reducing the stretching of heart muscle that's common after a heart attack.

UA scientist identifies cellular gene signatures for heart muscle regeneration
A research team led by Jared Churko, PhD, director of the University of Arizona iPSC Core in the UA Sarver Heart Center, used a transcriptomic approach -- studying what genes are expressed -- to identify gene signatures of cell subpopulations identified as atrial-like or ventricular-like.

Read More: Heart Muscle News and Heart Muscle Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.