Evaluation of the Effects of Anabolic Steroids on Right and Left Ventricular Functions in Bodybuilders

Document Type : Original Article


1 Cardiovascular Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, IR Iran.

2 Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, IR Iran.

3 Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences Kerman, IR Iran.


Background: Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) misuse for improving exercise ability and muscle mass in bodybuilders is ever-increasing and it is suggested to be responsible for destructive cardiovascular effects. In this study, we sought to assess all structural and functional aspects of left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) functions in male bodybuilding athletes who consume long-term AASs.
Methods: The present study was conducted in Kerman in 2016. Based on a cross-sectional study, 52 bodybuilders were selected and divided into 2 groups (26 cases in each group). As a control group, 20 healthy sedentary volunteers with the same age and body mass index (BMI) as the previous 2 groups were selected.
Results: Except for LV end-systolic diameter, LV end-systolic volume, and A/E in the Doppler assessment, there were significant differences between all the parameters of LV structure and function, consisting of LV end-diastolic diameter, interventricular septal diameter, LV posterior wall diameter, LV end-diastolic volume, LV mass, LV mass index, deceleration time in mitral inflow Doppler evaluation, and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) parameters between AAS users, nonusers, and control groups (all Ps<0.05). Additionally, RV size, fractional area change, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and TDI evaluation of the lateral point of the tricuspid annulus as parameters of RV function were significantly different between the mentioned groups (all Ps<0.05).
Conclusions: Our study showed that multiple courses of AAS abuse by young male bodybuilders could lead to detrimental effects on LV and RV morphology and systolic and diastolic functions over time. Therefore, it is essential to raise awareness among young athletes regarding the chronic side effects of these compounds. (Iranian Heart Journal 2022; 23(4): 38-45)


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