Objective: This study aims at estimating the effect of high heart rate on total mortality during a long-term follow-up among men and women. During the years 1969-70, a stratified sample of 32,185 individuals aged 18-64 years was drawn from the population in Stockholm County (response rate 87%). A sub-sample, stratified by predicted health care needs, was invited to the health-screening program, and an extensive health examination performed on 2445 individuals out of 3064 individuals. An exercise test was performed on 1054 subjects. Complete data were available for 989 subjects, 490 men and 499 women.
Methods: Participants were followed up in the National Cause of Death Register up to the end of 1996. Multivariate analysis was performed adjusting for cardio-respiratory fitness, expected level of care need, obesity, smoking and hypertension.
Results: Among men, high heart rate (above 75 beats/minute) was associated with excess mortality, HR 1.63 (95% CI 1.30-2.03) in the age-adjusted model, and HR 1.57 (95% CI 1.05-2.35) in the full model. Among women, no significant excess risk was found, HR 1.18 (95% CI 0.89-1.58) in the age-adjusted model.
Conclusions: High heart rate is an independent mortality risk marker for men but not for women.