Electrocardiographic characteristics of trained and untrained standardbred racehorses

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Background: Long-term exercise induces cardiac remodeling that potentially influences the electrical properties of the heart. Hypothesis/objectives: We assessed whether training alters cardiac conduction in Standardbred racehorses. Animals: Two hundred one trained and 52 untrained Standardbred horses. Methods: Cross-sectional study. Resting ECG recordings were analyzed to assess heart rate (HR) along with standard ECG parameters and for identification of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. An electrophysiological study was performed in 13 horses assessing the effect of training on sinoatrial (SA) and atrioventricular (AV) nodal function by sinus node recovery time (SNRT) and His signal recordings. Age and sex adjustments were implemented in multiple and logistic regression models for comparison. Results: Resting HR in beats per minute (bpm) was lower in trained vs untrained horses (mean, 30.8 ± 2.6 bpm vs 32.9 ± 4.2 bpm; P =.001). Trained horses more often displayed second-degree atrioventricular block (2AVB; odds ratio, 2.59; P =.04). No difference in SNRT was found between groups (n = 13). Mean P-A, A-H, and H-V intervals were 71 ± 20, 209 ± 41, and 134 ± 41 ms, respectively (n = 7). We did not detect a training effect on AV-nodal conduction intervals. His signals were present in 1 horse during 2AVB with varying H-V interval preceding a blocked beat. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: We identified decreased HR and increased frequency of 2AVB in trained horses. In 5 of 7 horses, His signal recordings had variable H-V intervals within each individual horse, providing novel insight into AV conduction in horses.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Vol/bind36
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)1119-1130
ISSN0891-6640
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Funding provided by the Brødrene Hartmanns Fond and the Novo Nordisk Foundation under grant agreement number NNF18SA0034956. The authors acknowledge the owners for allowing their horses to participate in the study and for welcoming them in their stables.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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