EM1701E "The Athlete's Heart: Friend or Foe?" (IM GR-012717)

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the physiological and pathophysiological cardiovascular adaptations that occur in endurance athletes, and are known collectively as “the athletes heart”. The normal adaptive response to endurance training will be discussed in both younger and older athletes and literature describing adverse consequences of endurance will be examined in detail. The presentation will be framed by a case of a middle aged man with clear cardiovascular disease who presents asking if he can train for a marathon.

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Target Audience

UT Southwestern faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, community physicians, nurse clinicians, physician assistants and nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Describe the normal cardiovascular physiology of the endurance athlete
  • Interpret the epidemiological evidence regarding increase or decrease risk of cardiovascular disease in athletes
  • Determine whether competitive endurance training is adaptive or pathological for an older athlete
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Photo: Benjamin Levine, M.D.Benjamin Levine, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., F.A.C.S.M.
Director, Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine
S. Finley Ewing Jr. Chair for Wellness at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas
Harry S. Moss Heart Chair for Cardiovascular Research
Professor of Medicine and Cardiology
Distinguished Professorship in Exercise Sciences
Division of Cardiology

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA


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