Background: Occupation related stress such as military parachuting has been considered to be a potentially important cardiovascular risk factor. The present study was performed to determine structural and functional changes of the left ventricle (LV), right ventricle (RV) and aorta by echocardiographic assessment of Iranian military parachutists compared to the normal population. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study on the echocardiographic fi ndings of 95 military parachutists, compared to 92 healthy workers with normal range of activities and no previous history of heart and other diseases. Information regarding demographic and lifestyle were obtained from each subject. Arterial blood pressure (BP), weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, and hip circumference were measured by standard methods. Then transthoracic echocardiography was performed for two groups. Results: Systolic BP, diastolic BP, LV end systolic diameter, septal wall thickness, posterior wall thickness, left ventricular mass (LVM), LVM index, ascending aorta systolic and diastolic diameter and aortic stiffness were signifi cantly higher in parachutists whereas, pulse pressure, LV ejection fraction, RV tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, aortic distensibility and pulmonary acceleration time were signifi cantly lower in parachutists. Conclusion: War-related stressors and high intensity physical activities are associated with cardiac events and morphologic and functional alteration. Echocardiographic evaluations could clarify these differences.
Key words: Cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, parachuting.