MONDAY, April 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — High resting heart rate (RHR) is associated with an increased risk for death and cardiovascular events in men, according to a study published online April 15 in Open Heart.

Xiao-jing Chen, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues followed a random population sample of men born in 1943 for a 21-year period. Participants were reexamined three times: in 1993, 2003, and 2014. A clinical examination, an echocardiogram, and laboratory analyses were performed at each visit. The authors examined the impact of RHR at baseline and change in RHR over time on the risk for all-cause death and cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that the risks for all-cause death, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease were increased for participants with a baseline RHR >75 bpm versus those with RHR ≤55 bpm in 1993 (hazard ratios, 2.3, 1.8, and 2.2, respectively). Compared with participants with an increasing RHR, those with a stable RHR between 1993 and 2003 had a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio, 0.56). Every beat increase in heart rate from 1993 correlated with a 3, 1, and 2 percent higher risk for all-cause death, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease, respectively.

“One main concern lies in whether a high RHR is an independent predictor given that higher heart rates coexist with traditional risk factors of cardiovascular disease and poor health status,” the authors write.

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