Athlete’s Heart and Left Heart Disease

  • Cesare de GregorioEmail author
  • Dalia Di Nunzio
  • Gianluca Di Bella
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1067)


Physical activity comprises all muscular activities that require energy expenditure. Regular sequence of structured and organized exercise with the specific purpose of improving wellness and athletic performance is defined as a sports activity.

Exercise can be performed at various levels of intensity and duration. According to the social context and pathways, it can be recreational, occupational, and competitive. Therefore, the training burden varies inherently and the heart adaptation is challenging.

Although a general agreement on the fact that sports practice leads to metabolic, functional and physical benefits, there is evidence that some athletes may be subjected to adverse outcomes. Sudden cardiac death can occur in apparently healthy individuals with unrecognized cardiovascular disease.

Thus, panels of experts in sports medicine have promoted important pre-participation screening programmes aimed at determining sports eligibility and differentiating between physiological remodeling and cardiac disease.

In this review, the most important pathophysiological and diagnostic issues are discussed.


Athlete’s heart Cardiomyopathy Exercise Functional evaluation Left ventricular hypertrophy Physical training Sports Sudden cardiac death 



Athlete’s heart


Cardiovascular disease(s)






Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


Left atrial/atrium


Left ventricle/ventricular


Physical activity


Peak oxygen uptake


Sports activity


Sudden cardiac death


Conflict of Interest

None to declare


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cesare de Gregorio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dalia Di Nunzio
    • 1
  • Gianluca Di Bella
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine – Cardiology UnitUniversity Hospital Medical School “Gaetano Martino”MessinaItaly

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