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Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Cerneca F. 1, Crocetti G. 2, Gombacci A. 3, Simeone R. 1, Tamaro G. 1, Mangiarotti M. A. 1
1 Laboratory of Analysis IRCCS “Burlo Garofalo”, Trieste, Italy;
2 Regional Centre for Sports Medicine CONI - FMSI, Trieste, Italy;
3 Cardiology Unit IRCCS “Burlo Garofalo” and Regional Centre for Sports Medicine CONI-FMSI, Trieste, Italy
Background. The clotting state of the blood changes according to the type of physical exercise to which a group of healthy subjects are subjected. We studied the behaviour of the coagulation system before and after near-maximum, specific and standardized exercise tests in three groups of males practising sports defined as demanding in terms of cardiovascular output.
Methods. The study was a comparative investigation between athletes and the group of controls composed of presumably healthy males. Setting: athletes training for competitions such as marathon, rowing and weightlifting. Participants and Interventions: we tested 7 rowers using the rowing machine, 12 marathon runners using the treadmill, 7 weightlifters using their own exercise equipment, and 7 healthy subjects (controls) using the cycle ergometer. Measures: during the tests we monitored heart rates, maximal oxygen intake, anaerobic threshold, respiratory quotient, maximum ventilation, and lactic acid. The following coagulation tests were performed before and after near-maximum exercise: prothrombin time (PT), partial activated thromboplastin time (PTT), fibrinogen (FBG), antithrombin III (ATIII), protein C (PC), protein S (PS), prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2), tissue activator of plasminogen (t-PA) and its inhibitor (PAI).
Results. The most significant results showed a low basal PC in the rowers which decreased further after near-maximum exercise; significantly higher basal activities of ATIII, PC and PS in the marathon runners compared to the rowers; a high proportion of weightlifters showed a reduction in t-PA after exercise and an increase of PAI; the controls were the only group in which fibrinolytic activity and all the circulating anticoagulants increased after near-maximum exercise. Thus subjects who practise aerobic sports differ principally in terms of variations in inhibitors (low PC in rowers and marathon runners, increased presence of inhibitors in controls). The weightlifters did not show any significant variations, and so the kind of exercise involved (training to increase resistence and maximum strength) and the recovery times between the exercises do not seem to trigger changes in coagulation/fibrinolysis.
Conclusions. We can therefore confirm that only relatively prolonged effort can trigger a mechanism beneficial to the cardiovascular system. In conclusion, physical activity benefits the coagulation system particularly as regards fibrinolysis, but certain subjects may be at risk of thrombosis and these must be identified and followed. We suggest that fibrinolytic activity be studied in athletes who practise weightlifting and have a history of cardiovascular disease, and that inhibitors (protein C in particular) be studied in rowers with a family history of thromboembolism.