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Impact of changes in heart rate with age on all-cause death and cardiovascular events in 50-year-old men from the general population

Journal article
Authors Xiaojing Chen
Salim B. Barywani
Per-Olof Hansson
Erik Thunström
Annika Rosengren
Constantinos Ergatoudes
Zacharias Mandalenakis
Kenneth Caidahl
Michael Fu
Published in Open Heart
Volume 6
Issue 1
ISSN 2053-3624
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Keywords all-cause death, cardiovascular events, population-based study, resting heart rate, risk factor
Subject categories Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


Background Resting heart rate (RHR), a known cardiovascular risk factor, changes with age. However, little is known about the association between changes in RHR and the risk of cardiovascular events. The purpose of this study was therefore to assess the impact of RHR at baseline, and the change in RHR over time, on the risk of all-cause death and cardiovascular events. Design A random population sample of men born in 1943 who were living in Gothenburg, Sweden was prospectively followed for a 21-year period. Methods Participants were examined three times: first in 1993 and then re-examined in 2003 and 2014. At each visit, a clinical examination, an ECG and laboratory analyses were performed. Change in RHR between 1993 and 2003 was defined as a decrease if RHR decreased by 5 beats per minute (bpm), an increase if RHR increased by 5 bpm or stable if the RHR change was <4bpm). Results Participants with a baseline RHR of >75 bpm in 1993 had about a twofold higher risk of all-cause death (HR 2.3, CI 1.2 to 4.7, p=0.018), cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR 1.8, CI 1.1 to 3.0, p=0.014) and coronary heart disease (CHD) (HR 2.2, CI 1.1 to 4.5, p=0.025) compared with those with <55 bpm in 1993. Participants with a stable RHR between 1993 and 2003 had a 44% decreased risk of CVD (HR 0.56, CI 0.35 to 0.87, p=0.011) compared with participants with an increasing RHR. Furthermore, every beat increase in heart rate from 1993 was associated with a 3% higher risk for all-cause death, 1% higher risk for CVD and 2% higher risk for CHD. Conclusion High RHR was associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular events in men from the general population. Moreover, individuals with an increase in RHR between 50 and 60 years of age had worse outcome. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

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