Resting heart rate positively associated with the risk of death from IHD

January 01, 0001

Resting heart rate positively associated with the risk of death from IHD

The objective of this study by researchers from Norway was to assess the association of resting heart rate (RHR) with ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality, and to evaluate the potentially modifying effect of physical activity (PA) on this association. In a prospective cohort study of 24,999 men and 25,089 women free from cardiovascular disease at baseline, Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate mortality risk.

During a mean of 18.2 years of follow-up, 2,566 men and 1,814 women died from cardiovascular causes. Significantly, for each increment of 10 heart beats per minute, risk of death from IHD was 18% higher in women less than 70 years of age. No such association was observed among women 70 years or older. Among men, there was a corresponding 10% higher risk in the younger, and 11% higher risk in the older age group, both significant. Among women, the risk associated with high RHR was substantially attenuated in those who reported a high level of PA, whereas in men, there was no clear indication that PA could modify the positive effect of RHR.

The authors concluded: “RHR is positively associated with the risk of death from IHD, and among women, the results suggest that by engaging in PA, the risk associated with a high RHR may be substantially reduced.”

More evidence for the benefits of exercise, at least for women in this case.

For the full abstract, click here.

J Epidemiol Community Health . 64:175-181, February 2010. © 2009 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. Combined effect of resting heart rate and physical activity on ischaemic heart disease: mortality follow-up in a population study (the HUNT study, Norway). J Nauman, T Ivar Lund Nilsen, U Wisløff and L J Vatten. Correspondence to J Nauman:

Category: K. Circulatory. Keywords: resting heart rate, physical activity, ischaemic heart disease, mortality, prospective cohort study
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 20 January 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.