Left ventricular mass as determined by magnetic resonance imaging in male endurance athletes

Martin C. Milliken, James Stray-Gundersen, Ronald M Peshock, Jose Katz, Jere H Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Although many studies of the effect of dynamic exercise training on left ventricular (LV) mass have been reported, controversy continues to exist. Previous work has been criticized because of the techniques used for measuring LV mass, the variable level of training of the subjects recruited and the methods used to normalize the data. In an attempt to resolve this controversy, LV mass was determined using the very accurate and reproducible technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Highly trained competitive athletes including crosscountry skiers, endurance cyclists and long distance runners (VO2max = 77 ± 1, 72 ± 2 and 75 ± 2 ml (kg × min)-1, respectively) were examined. The data were normalized for body weight, body surface area and lean body mass. LV mass was significantly greater in skiers (239 ± 9 g), runners (244 ± 10 g) and cyclists (258 ± 11 g) when compared with nonathletic control subjects (189 ± 6 g) (p < 0.001), which represents percent differences of 26, 29 and 37%, respectively. LV mass remained greater in the athletes, regardless of the method used to normalize the data. In addition, there was a good correlation between LV mass and VO2max (r = 0.80, p < 0.001). It was concluded that LV mass is significantly greater in highly trained competitive endurance athletes and that normalizing LV mass with respect to body weight, body surface area or lean body mass does not alter this relation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-305
Number of pages5
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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