Changes in cardiac function following a speed ascent to the top of Europe at 4808 m - Inserm - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale Access content directly
Journal Articles European Journal of Applied Physiology Year : 2022

Changes in cardiac function following a speed ascent to the top of Europe at 4808 m


Purpose: Both prolonged exercise and acute high-altitude exposure are known to induce cardiac changes. We sought to describe the cardiac responses to speed climbing at high-altitude, including left ventricular (LV) performance assessment using the myocardial work index (MWI), a new index derived from 2D speckle tracking echocardiography (STE). Methods: Eleven elite alpinists (9 males, age: 26 ± 4 years) were evaluated before and immediately after a speed ascent of the Mont-Blanc (4808 m) by echocardiography using conventional measurements as well as STE and MWI computation with derivate parameters as global work efficiency (GWE) or global wasted work (GWW). Results: Athletes performed a long-duration (8 h 58 min ± 60 min) and intense (78 ± 4% of maximal heart rate) ascent under gradual hypoxic conditions (minimal SpO2 at 4808 m: 71 ± 4%). Hypoxic exercise-induced cardiac fatigue was observed post-ascent with a change in right ventricular (RV) and LV systolic function (RV fractional area change: - 20 ± 23%, p = 0.01; LV global longitudinal strain change: - 8 ± 9%, p = 0.02), as well as LV geometry and RV-LV interaction alterations with emergence of a D-shape septum in 5/11 (46%) participants associated with RV pressure overload (mean pulmonary arterial pressure change: + 55 ± 20%, p < 0.001). Both MWI and GWE were reduced post-ascent (- 21 ± 16%, p = 0.004 and - 4 ± 4%, p = 0.007, respectively). Relative decrease in MWI and GWE were inversely correlated with increase in GWW (r = - 0.86, p = 0.003 and r = -0.97, p < 0.001, respectively). Conclusions: Prolonged high-altitude speed climbing in elite climbers is associated with RV and LV function changes with a major interaction alteration. MWI, assessing the myocardial performance, could be a new tool for evaluating LV exercise-induced cardiac fatigue.
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Dates and versions

inserm-03797630 , version 1 (04-10-2022)



Benoit Champigneulle, Stéphane Doutreleau, Sébastien Baillieul, Julien Vincent Brugniaux, Paul Robach, et al.. Changes in cardiac function following a speed ascent to the top of Europe at 4808 m. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2022, 122 (4), pp.889-902. ⟨10.1007/s00421-022-04895-6⟩. ⟨inserm-03797630⟩


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