The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) has been linked to acute cardiovascular events in athletes. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the aortic elastic properties in athletes who had been self-administering AAS compared with a group of athletes not using these drugs. Fourteen male bodybuilders using AAS and 27 male wrestlers (non-users) volunteered to the study. All subjects were placed in a mild recumbent position and the ascending aorta was recorded in the two-dimensional guided M-mode tracings. Although the aortic distensibility was found to be reduced in user athletes (2.1 +/- 1.1 vs. 3.8 +/- 1.4 cm(2) dyn(-1) 10(-6), p = 0.01; 9.3 +/- 3.7 vs. 5.9 +/- 2.5, p = 0.003, respectively). The results of this study indicate that aortic stiffness is increasing in athletes using AAS. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.