BACKGROUND: T-wave morphology has been shown to be more sensitive than QT and QTc interval to describe repolarization abnormalities. The electrocardiogram (ECG) performed in athletes may manifest abnormalities, including repolarization alterations. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of T-wave morphology features in athletes. METHODS: Eighty male elite athletes, consisting of 40 Tour de France cyclists (age 27±5years), 40 soccer players (age 26±6years) and 40 healthy men (age 27±5years) were included. RESULTS: Sinus bradycardia, left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, incomplete right bundle branch block and early repolarization were documented in 25 %, 20%, 13% and 14% of athletes, respectively. ECG criteria for LV hypertrophy in 12-lead ECG were more common in cyclists (35%) than in soccer players (5%), P<0.0001. Cyclists and soccer players had significantly longer RR interval, and repolarization features than the control group. CONCLUSIONS: T-wave morphology of athletes is different from non-athletes, depending of the sport. Decreased potassium current in cardiomyocytes associated with LVH may contribute to these changes.
Journal of Electrocardiology, 2015, Vol 48, Issue 1, p. 35-42