Marathon runners have normal hearts, finds Indo-Canadian researcher

May 18th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 18 (IANS) An advanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI) technology was used for the first time to peer into possible cardiac abnormalities of marathon runners and found none, in a study carried out by a Canadian of Indian origin.
“This was the first time CMRI has been used to further evaluate and understand the effects of marathon running on the heart,” said study investigator Davinder S. Jassal, assistant professor of cardiology, radiology and physiology at the University of Manitoba.

The study examined the cardiac health of 14 runners who participated in the full 2008 Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg, Canada.

All runners were classified, for purposes of the study, as “non-elite,” meaning they participated on a casual, non-professional basis, with limited or no training.

“Prior to the marathon, each participant underwent a comprehensive health screening, including blood tests to determine the levels of cardiac biomarkers, factors present in the blood that reflect the health of the heart muscle,” said Jassal.

Following the race, additional blood samples were taken and echocardiograms and CMRI were performed.

Earlier studies have confirmed that cardiac biomarkers are elevated in many casual, non-professional athletes following competition, indicating possible damage to the heart muscle.

In this study, although the cardiac biomarkers were elevated post marathon, there was no evidence of direct permanent injury to the heart muscle on CMRI imaging, said a Manitoba release.

“By using CMRI, we were able to definitively show that these fluctuations do not result in any true damage of the heart,” Jassal noted.

The study was presented Sunday at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

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