New evidence is emerging to show that the right ventricle is subjected to much greater stresses during exertion than the left ventricle. And, prolonged exercise is associated with temporary damage to the right ventricle. Yet current approaches towards the assessment of athletes with heart beat irregularities (arrhythmias) focus on the left ventricle and tend to examine the heart while it is resting.

As Prof André La Gerche remarks: “You do not test a racing car while it is sitting in the garage. Similarly, you can’t assess an athlete’s heart until you assess it under the stress of exercise”. Methods for measuring right ventricular function are relatively simple and could be easily integrated into clinical routine. If you are an athlete with heart beat irregularities, you just might want to discuss these new findings with your own cardiologist.

A summary of these findings that were published in the European Heart Journal earlier this year can be found here.

Posted by Kara Gilbert @ KMG Communications.

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