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Invited Commentary
April 2016

Cardiac Variables in Professional Basketball Players: Looking Closely at the Normal Big Athlete (NBA)

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cardiovascular Performance Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
JAMA Cardiol. 2016;1(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2015.0289

Exercise-induced cardiac remodeling (EICR) is the process of structural and functional myocardial adaptation that develops in response to sustained exercise training. Exercise-induced cardiac remodeling is a complex process with numerous determinants, including the athlete’s age, sex, ethnicity, genetics, and sport type.1 Although EICR was first described more than a century ago,2 it remains an area of active investigation for 2 basic reasons. First, the study of EICR continues to refine our understandings of adaptive human biology and the role of the cardiovascular system in human performance. Second, EICR provides critical data for the effective clinical management of athletes and highly active individuals. Differentiating EICR from the diseases associated with the risk for adverse events during athletic participation is among the most challenging and important tasks for the sports cardiologist. At the most basic level, differentiating adaptive physiologic development from occult pathologic change requires a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes normal for a given athlete subtype.

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