Resting heart rate has been related to the risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden death in several large prospective studies. To investigate prospectively the association of novel heart rate parameters and of carotid artery stiffness with sudden death and other cardiovascular disease. The Paris Prospective Study III (PPS3) is a new, ongoing French prospective study. From June 2008 to December 2011, 10,000 men and women aged 50-75 years who will have a preventive medical check-up at the Centre d'Investigations Préventives et Cliniques in Paris (France), will be enrolled in the study, after signing an informed consent. In addition to the general health examination, each subject's heart rhythm will be recorded during the course of the health check-up (approximately 2(1/2) h) and an echo-tracking of the right carotid bulb will be performed by trained technicians. A bio bank and DNA bank will be established for further biomarker and genetic analyses. The occurrence of cardiovascular disease including acute coronary syndrome, stroke, peripheral artery disease and sudden death, and of mortality, of the participants will be followed up during 20 years. With an estimated mean annual rate of sudden death of 0.1% and its increasing incidence rate with age, between 250 and 300 sudden deaths are expected. This unique study should provide new insights into the regulation of heart rate and blood pressure and should enable to identify novel heart rate parameters that are associated with sudden death.