Abstract 2248: Prevalence and Long-term Clinical Significance of Aortic Root Dilatation in Competitive Athletes
OBJECTIVES: Prevalence, clinical significance, and long-term consequences of aortic root (AoR) dilatation in competitive athletes are not yet investigated. Our aim was to assess the distribution and determinants of AoR size in a large population of competitive athletes.
METHODS: AoR dimension were assessed by echocardiography in 2,361 athletes participating in 48 different sports. Of them, 43 were excluded because aortic structural abnormalities, such as bicuspid aortic valve, Marfan’s Syndrome, aortic prosthesis. The remaining 2,318, including 1,301 (56%) males and 1,017 (44%) females were the study population. Arbitrary cut-off of ≥ 40 mm, according to #36th Bethesda Conference, was used as upper normal limits for AoR.
RESULTS: AoR dimension was 32.2 ± 2.7 mm (23 to 44) in males, and 27.5 ± 2.6 mm (20 to 36) in females. AoR dimension exceeded accepted upper limits in only 18 male athletes (0.8%). Figure⇓. Multivariate regression analysis showed left ventricular (LV) mass and body size explaining majority of AoR variability (R2= 0,59). Surprisingly, type of sport was not a determinant for AoR dimension. The 18 athletes with enlarged AoR were periodically followed for 7.0 ± 4.2 years. None developed cardiovascular events or symptoms. Two showed progression of AoR dilatation (from 40 to 48, and 43 to 46 mm, respectively), one had incident myocarditis and one developed moderate aortic regurgitation with enlarged LV cavity.
CONCLUSIONS: Dilated aortic root is an uncommon finding in competitive athletes and do not represent expression of physiologic cardiac remodelling of the athlete’s heart. Therefore, athletes with dilated AoR deserves continued clinical surveillance.