Background: Several prospective studies have reported resting heart rate (HR) to be a risk factor for certain cause-specific death, together with sex- or age-specific differences in the effects of HR on death. However, there have been few prospective data from non-Western populations.
Methods: Cohort study, over 16.5 years to date of death or end of follow-up (November 15, 1998) involving 8800 men and women > or =30 years of age randomly selected throughout Japan, who participated in the National Survey on Circulatory Disorders in 1980. Resting HR was determined from 3 consecutive intervals between R waves on the 12-lead electrocardiogram.
Results: For middle-aged men (30 to 59 years of age), in the highest quartile of HR, there was a significant positive association with cardiovascular (RR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.22 to 5.31) and all-cause death (RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.06 to 2.00). For middle-aged women, in the highest quartile, there was a significant positive association with noncancer, noncardiovascular (RR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.04 to 5.59), and all-cause death (RR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.26 to 3.01). Resting HR also showed a significant positive association with cardiac events but not to stroke. These relations were not evident for elderly subjects (> or =60 years of age). Results were not affected when deaths within the first 5 years of follow-up were excluded, except for noncancer, noncardiovascular death.
Conclusions: High resting HR is an independent predictor of long-term death in the Japanese general population.