What is athlete’s heart and how to differentiate it from hypertrophy due to other causes?
Athlete’s heart is hypertrophied (thickened) due to the constant training. Hypertrophy can also occur due to increased resistance to pumping as in systemic hypertension (due to increased systemic vascular resistance) or aortic valve stenosis (obstruction). Hypertrophy can also occur in a genetic disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The ideal method of differentiating between the hypertrophy in both situations is by deconditioning. That is to stop athletic training for a few weeks and observe whether the hypertrophy regressess. If it regresses, it is true athlete’s heart. If not, other causes like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have to be thought of.