Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/9904
Bicuspid aortic valve behaviour in elite athletes
Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2019; 20(7):772-780
AIMS: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) among elite athletes and to analyse the effect of long-term exercise training on their aortas. METHODS AND RESULTS: Consecutive BAV and tricuspid aortic valve (TAV) elite athletes from a population of 5136 athletes evaluated at the Sports Medicine Center of the Spanish National Sports Council were identified using echocardiography. A total of 41 BAV elite athletes were matched with 41 TAV elite athletes, and 41 BAV non-athletic patients from three Spanish tertiary hospitals. Sixteen BAV elite athletes who had undergone at least two cardiac evaluations separated by more than 3 years were selected to assess their clinical course. The prevalence of BAV in elite athletes was 0.8%. The proximal ascending aorta was larger for both BAV groups in comparison to TAV athletes (P = 0.001). No differences in aortic diameters were found between BAV athletes and BAV non-athletes. In BAV elite athletes, the annual growth rates for aortic annulus, sinuses of Valsalva, sinotubular junction, and proximal ascending aorta were 0.04 ± 0.24, 0.11 ± 0.59, 0.14 ± 0.38, and 0.21 ± 0.44 mm/year, respectively. Aortic regurgitation was the only functional abnormality, but no significant progression was found. CONCLUSION: High-intensity training and sports competition may not aggravate BAV condition during elite athletes' careers. BAV elite athletes with mild-to-moderately dilated aortas may engage in high dynamic cardiovascular exercise without adverse consequences, although an echocardiographic follow-up is recommended.