Superior cardiac mechanics without structural adaptations in pre-adolescent soccer players

Alexander Beaumont, David Oxborough, Keith George, Thomas W. Rowland, Nicholas Sculthorpe, Rachel Lord, Viswanath B. Unnithan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


This study aimed to evaluate left ventricular structure, function and mechanics, in highly-trained, pre-adolescent soccer players compared with age- and sex-matched controls.

The study design was a prospective, cross-sectional comparison of left ventricular structure, function and mechanics.

Twenty-two male soccer players from two professional youth soccer academies (age: 12.00.3 years) and 22 recreationally active controls (age: 11.70.3 years) were recruited. Two-dimensional conventional and speckle tracking echocardiography were used to quantify left ventricular structure, function and peak/temporal values for left ventricular strain and twist, respectively.

End-diastolic volume index was larger in soccer players (518mm/(m2)1.5 vs. 456 mm/(m2)1.5; p¼0.007) and concentricity was lower in soccer players (4.30.7 g/(mL)0.667 vs. 4.91.0g/(mL)0.667; p¼0.017), without differences in mean wall thickness between groups (6.00.4mm vs. 6.10.5 mm; p¼0.754). Peak circumferential strain at the base (–22.2%2.5% vs. –20.5%2.5%; p¼0.029) and papillary muscle levels (–20.1%1.5% vs. –18.3%2.5%;
p¼0.007) were greater in soccer players. Peak left ventricular twist was larger in soccer players (16.92 7.55 vs. 12.34 4.99; p¼0.035) and longitudinal early diastolic strain rate was greater in soccer players (2.220.40 s–1 vs.2.020.46 s–1; p¼0.025).

Highly-trained soccer players demonstrated augmented cardiac mechanics with greater circumferential strains, twist and faster diastolic lengthening in the absence of differences in wall thickness between soccer players and controls.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1501
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number14
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Strain
  • Echocardiography
  • Speckle
  • Youth
  • Function
  • Left ventricle


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