Heart rate as a risk factor in hypertensive individuals. The Italian TensioPulse Study

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 1999 Aug;9(4):196-202.


Background and aim: The predictive role of heart rate as a new, independent risk factor for the development of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has been investigated in recent years and many studies have demonstrated a significant and independent association between heart rate, blood pressure and cardiovascular (CV) endpoints. Various pathogenic pathways can be postulated to explain this association and the role of heart rate as a plausible risk factor. Previous studies have been limited to the examination of small samples of general populations. By contrast, our study is based on a large cohort (38,145) of hypertensive patients.

Methods and results: The Italian TensioPulse Study is a detailed investigation of the relation between heart rate (HR) and other CV risk factors in a large cohort of hypertensives. A strong, positive relationship was found between heart rate and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure: r = 0.21 for SBP in both sexes, and r = 0.21 and r = 0.24 for DBP in men and women respectively. Smoking and drinking habits seem to be associated with higher heart rate, SBP and DBP values.

Conclusions: These findings and the observation that more than one out of three hypertensives had a relatively high heart rate could assist in the organisation of prevention programmes. Correction of certain lifestyle factors must precede the decision to use drugs to reduce the global CVD risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors