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In This Video

  • Meagan Wasfy, MD, is a sports cardiologist in Mass General's Cardiovascular Performance Program
  • Here, she discusses her team's focus on examining how the heart adapts to exercise, and specifically how the heart enlarges due to exercise

Meagan Wasfy, MD, is a sports cardiologist in Mass General's Cardiovascular Performance Program. In this video, she discusses her team's focus on examining how the heart adapts to exercise, and specifically how the heart enlarges due to exercise.

Transcript

My research focuses on examining how the heart adapts to exercise, specifically how the heart enlarges due to exercise. We see that in people who exercise vigorously - cardiac chambers become enlarged and the heart muscle thickens, also known as left ventricular hypertrophy.

We are interested in two things: One is to better understand the mechanisms of left ventricular hypertrophy due to exercise. The thought is that if we can better understand the mechanisms of this process, we might better understand how exercise might be used to benefit people with cardiac disease.

There is also a more direct clinical application to my work. So a common scenario in our clinic is that an athlete presents either because they have symptoms or because they've had some abnormal findings on cardiac exams. And they are found to have heart muscle thickening or left ventricular hypertrophy and it's not clear whether that's just due to their exercise or due to some pathologic process. Most commonly the concern would be for a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. And with the current clinical tools we have, it sometimes is very hard to distinguish between normal athletic remodeling and cardiac disease.

There are huge clinical indications to this because forms of cardiac disease that caused LVH like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes.

So we really need to get the diagnosis correct and so my work looks at whether some form of cardiac imaging, specifically PET imaging, can help tell the difference between left ventricular hypertrophy due to exercise and due to cardiac disease.

Learn more about Mass General's Cardiovascular Performance Program

Refer a patient to the Mass General Heart Center

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