Echocardiographic data in Hungarian top-level water polo players

Gábor Pavlik, Dénes Kemény, Zsuzsanna Kneffel, Máté Petrekanits, Patrícia Horváth, Zoltán Sidó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Water polo is a sport involving extremely intense exercise training that might be expected to result in major cardiac adaptations. The purpose of our study was to evaluate cardiac size, determine V̇O 2max of top-level water polo players, and compare the findings with those of other top-level athletes. Methods: Treadmill V̇O2max and 2D guided M-mode and Doppler echocardiographic data were obtained on players (N = 15) of the Olympic champion (Sydney 2000) Hungarian team and compared with data of Hungarian sedentary subjects (N = 19), and top-level endurance (N = 16) and power athletes (N = 15). Results: Aerobic power of the water polo players was significantly lower (57.8 ± 12.3 mL·min -1·kg-1) than that of endurance athletes (70.9 ± 8.9), higher than sedentary controls (49.7 ± 4.3), and not different from that of power athletes (50.5 ± 6.0). Body size related mean left ventricular wall thickness (LVWT/BSA0.5) was the highest in the water polo players (16.8 ± 1.5 vs 15.9 ± 1.1 in endurance, 14.5 ± 1.0 in the power athletes, and 12.8 ± 0.6 mm·m -1 in nonathletes). Left ventricular muscle mass (LVMM/BSA 1.5) was higher in the water polo players (115 ± 22 g·m-3) than in power athletes (86 ± 12) or nonathletes (74 ± 9) and similar to that of endurance athletes (112 ± 15). Resting heart rate was lower in the water polo players (55.1 ± 9.7 beats·m-1) and endurance athletes (59.3 ± 10.6) than in power athletes (66.0 ± 16.1) or in sedentary subjects (72.9 ± 10.9). Conclusions: Results indicate that high-level water polo results in marked cardiac hypertrophy that involves predominantly an increase of wall thickness, and in a V̇O2max lower than that of endurance athletes but similar to those of basketball and soccer players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2005


  • Aerobic power
  • Athlete's heart
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Top athletes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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