Size, shape, and stamina: The impact of left ventricular geometry on exercise capacity

Carolyn S.P. Lam, Jasmine Grewal, Barry A. Borlaug, Steve R. Ommen, Garvan C. Kane, Robert B. McCully, Patricia A. Pellikka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Although several studies have examined the cardiac functional determinants of exercise capacity, few have investigated the effects of structural remodeling. The current study evaluated the association between cardiac geometry and exercise capacity. Subjects with ejection fraction ≥50% and no valvular disease, myocardial ischemia, or arrhythmias were identified from a large prospective exercise echocardiography database. Left ventricular mass index and relative wall thickness were used to classify geometry into normal, concentric remodeling, eccentric hypertrophy, and concentric hypertrophy. All of the subjects underwent symptom-limited treadmill exercise according to standard Bruce protocol. Maximal exercise tolerance was measured in metabolic equivalents. Of 366 (60±14 years; 57% male) subjects, 166 (45%) had normal geometry, 106 (29%) had concentric remodeling, 40 (11%) had eccentric hypertrophy, and 54 (15%) had concentric hypertrophy. Geometry was related to exercise capacity: in descending order, the maximum achieved metabolic equivalents were 9.9±2.8 in normal, 8.9±2.6 in concentric remodeling, 8.6±3.1 in eccentric hypertrophy, and 8.0±2.7 in concentric hypertrophy (all P<0.02 versus normal). Left ventricular mass index and relative wall thickness were negatively correlated with exercise tolerance in metabolic equivalents (r=-0.14; P=0.009 and r=-0.21; P<0.001, respectively). Augmentation of heart rate and ejection fraction with exercise were blunted in concentric hypertrophy compared with normal, even after adjusting for medications. In conclusion, the pattern of ventricular remodeling is related to exercise capacity among low-risk adults. Subjects with concentric hypertrophy display the greatest limitation, and this is related to reduced systolic and chronotropic reserve. Reverse remodeling strategies may prevent or treat functional decline in patients with structural heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1149
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Exercise capacity
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertrophy
  • Left ventricle
  • Remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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