Prevalence of multivalvular regurgitation in athletes.
To assess the effects of exercise training on the prevalence of valvular regurgitation, 2-dimensional echocardiography and Doppler flow mapping were performed in 45 athletes and 26 sedentary control subjects of similar age and sex. Mitral, tricuspid, aortic and pulmonic regurgitations were sought in all possible views and mitral and tricuspid flow velocities were recorded. Mitral and tricuspid anulus diameters and the maximal areas of regurgitant flow were planimetered. Regurgitation of at least one of the cardiac valves was found in 91% of athletes but in only 38% of control subjects (p less than 0.001). Mitral and tricuspid regurgitation occurred more commonly in athletes than in control subjects (mitral 69 vs 27%; tricuspid 76 vs 15%). The prevalence of aortic and pulmonic regurgitation was similar. Although athletes and sedentary normal subjects differed with respect to heart rate, right and left ventricular filling patterns and tricuspid and mitral anulus diameters, none of these variables was related to the presence or severity of regurgitation. Thus, exercise training is associated with an increased prevalence of mitral and tricuspid regurgitation and altered ventricular inflow patterns. The mechanism of these findings is unclear. Multivalvular regurgitation is common in athletes and does not imply structural valvular abnormalities.
Douglas, PS; Berman, GO; O'Toole, ML; Hiller, WD; Reichek, N
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