Acute and chronic effects on central hemodynamics and arterial stiffness in professional rowers.


Franzen K, Reppel M, Köster J, Mortensen K.


Controversial data exist on acute and chronic effects of competitive sports on central hemodynamics and arterial stiffness. We investigated chronic as well as acute training effects in professional rowers. The trial was planned as a non-randomized, controlled pilot-study comparing athletes and controls. 13 German national team rowers (24.1 ± 1.5 years) and 12 controls (23.8 ± 0.8 years) participated. Aortic, brachial hemodynamics and arterial stiffness were measured (Arteriograph, TensioMed(®), Hungary) before and after a standardized exercise test. Chronic heart rate (49 [Formula: see text] 2 bpm versus 70 [Formula: see text] 2 bpm, p  <  0.05) as well as brachial diastolic pressure (65 [Formula: see text] 2 mmHg versus 74 [Formula: see text] 2 mmHg, p  <  0.05) was significantly lower in rowers. Physical power (305 [Formula: see text] 63 versus 158 [Formula: see text] 60 W, p  <  0.001) was better. Chronic aortic pulse pressure (41.6 [Formula: see text] 6.0 versus 35.2 [Formula: see text] 3.8 mmHg; p  <  0.01) and AIx (9.1 [Formula: see text] 5.4 versus 7.0 [Formula: see text] 10.2; p  <  0.01) were significantly higher in athletes. After the all-out test (acute effects) pulse wave velocity (rowers: 6.6 [Formula: see text] 1.2 m s(-1) versus 7.8 [Formula: see text] 1.6 m s(-1), p  <  0.001; control group 6.0 [Formula: see text] 0.4 m s(-1) versus 8.0 [Formula: see text] 1.4 m s(-1), p  =  0.005) and heart rate (rowers: 49 [Formula: see text] 2 bpm versus 91 [Formula: see text] 3 bpm, p  <  0.001; control group 70 [Formula: see text] 2 bpm versus 92 [Formula: see text] 4 bpm, p  <  0.001) increased significantly in both groups. The controls' aortic AIx (7.0 [Formula: see text] 10.2 versus 2.0 [Formula: see text] 6.0; p  <  0.01) decreased significantly after exercise. Professional rowers showed higher chronic aortic pulse pressure and arterial stiffness. Given the risk associated with elevated aortic pulse pressure and AIx for development of cardiovascular diseases, longterm observations of professional rowers are needed with respect to arterial stiffness and prognosis. Furthermore the acute effects need additional research.

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