[Echocardiography in sports medicine].
Echocardiography in sports medicine is helpful for the health prevention in competitive athletes, the differential diagnosis between sports related and pathological cardiac adaptations, the clarification of conspicuous complaints or findings as well as the follow-up of cardiac diseases. The risk of sudden cardiac death in sports may be decreased by this non-invasive examination. The strength of the echocardiography lies in the evaluation of the left ventricle as well of the valves, the pericardium and the aortic dimensions while the assessment of pathologies of the right ventricle and of the coronary arteries remain difficult. Dimensional changes of the heart pointing at training related adaptations may be quantified by the determination of the heart volume and the left ventricular muscle mass while considering the wall-thickness-internal diameter ratio and the body dimensions. Newer echocardiographic techniques improve the information about the systolic and diastolic left and right ventricular function for clinical purposes and research.