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Mar 26, 2015

Athletic activity impairs myocardial function in ARVC subjects


 

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a genetic heart muscle disease with an increased risk of life threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. The mechanism behind the disease is complex and involves dysfunction in the glue between the heart muscle cells, which ultimately leads to severe damage of the cardiac muscles with potentially severe consequences. The disease is more commonly found in males and rather in teenagers and young adults then in the elderly population.

Athletic activity may increase the risk of life threatening arrhythmias in individuals with ARVC and these individuals are recommended to restrain from competitive sports. 110 ARVC individuals have been investigated in this study.

This study has been mentioned on www.unikard.org, a Norwegian organisation with focus on cardiovascular research. It was also one of the selected projects featured on the webpage for the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. The main author of this article is PhD student Jørg Saberniak, MD. Center Director of Cardiology Research, Kristina Haugaa, MD, PhD is the project manager.

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Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a genetic heart muscle disease with an increased risk of life threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Sudden death may be the first devastating symptom in apparently healthy young individuals, which is a tragedy for their families. The mechanism behind the disease is complex and involves dysfunction in the glue between the heart muscle cells, which ultimately leads to severe damage of the cardiac muscles with potentially severe consequences.

Athletic activity may increase the risk of life threatening arrhythmias in individuals with ARVC and these individuals are recommended to restrain from competitive sports. However, the impact of high level exercise on heart function is not fully understood. We investigated 110 ARVC individuals of which almost half had a history of athletic activity. We showed that athletes with ARVC had reduced cardiac function compared to non-athletes in ARVC subjects. Interestingly, the amount and intensity of exercise activity was associated with impaired function of both heart chambers. Athletic activity may accelerate the development of heart disease in patients with ARVC. This finding adds to current guidelines for sports recommendation in ARVC patients to restrain from competitive sports.

Read more about the study;

Vigorous physical activity impairs myocardial function in patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy and in mutation positive family members
Main contributors:Jørg Saberniak, Nina E. Hasselberg, Rasmus Borgquist, Pyotr G Platonov, Sebastian I. Sarvari, Hans-Jørgen Smith, Magareth Ribe, Anders G. Holst, Thor Edvardsen, Kristina H. Haugaa

Center for Cardiological Innovation