Background: Ethnicity is an important determinant of athletes' cardiovascular adaptation. Black adolescent and adult athletes exhibit a left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy with a concentric remodelling higher than their Caucasian counterparts. Scant data, however, are available on race-related differences in hemodynamic response of adolescent athletes to exercise and its relation with heart remodelling. We evaluated if race-specific, sport-related structural and electrical remodelling in adolescent athletes of Caucasian and African ethnicity exclusively depends on race itself rather than on different cardiovascular responses to physical exercise. Methods: We examined 90 adolescent athletes, 60 Caucasian (WA) and 30 Black (BA). All participants underwent thorough clinical, echocardiographic and stress test evaluations. Results: BA had greater indexed LV mass (LVM/BSA) with increased relative wall thickness (RWT) implying a concentric remodelling. BA showed higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) compared to WA during the whole exercise test. ECG data showed that BA vs WA had a significant shorter QRS duration in each step considered with a significant greater QT dispersion. BA reached a higher relative pressure peak as compared to WA. RWT was strongly influenced by ethnicity and less by SBP at peak of exercise (PE), although LVM/BSA was significantly related to SBP at PE and just marginally to age and not significantly to race. Conclusions: Black adolescent athletes showed higher SBP during all steps of exercise associated to a different trend. Ethnicity was the main determinant of RWT, suggesting that LV geometry is principally race-related rather than influenced by a different hemodynamic profile to physical activity.
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