Speed of Heart Rate Recovery in Response to Orthostatic Challenge

Circ Res. 2016 Aug 19;119(5):666-75. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.308577. Epub 2016 Jun 21.


Rationale: Speed of heart rate recovery (HRR) may serve as an important biomarker of aging and mortality.

Objective: To examine whether the speed of HRR after an orthostatic maneuver (ie, active stand from supine position) predicts mortality.

Methods and results: A longitudinal cohort study involving a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling older individuals aged ≥50 years. A total of 4475 participants completed an active stand at baseline as part of a detailed clinic-based cardiovascular assessment. Beat-to-beat heart rate and blood pressure responses to standing were measured during a 2-minute window using a finometer and binned in 10-s intervals. We modeled HRR to the stand by age group, cardiovascular disease burden, and mortality status using a random effects model. Mortality status during a mean follow-up duration of 4.3 years served as the primary end point (n=138). Speed of HRR in the immediate 20 s after standing was a strong predictor of mortality. A 1-bpm slower HRR between 10 and 20 s after standing increased the hazard of mortality by 6% controlling for established risk factors. A clear dose-response relationship was evident. Sixty-nine participants in the slowest HRR quartile died during the observation period compared with 14 participants in the fastest HRR quartile. Participants in the slowest recovery quartile were 2.3× more likely to die compared with those in the fastest recovery quartile.

Conclusions: Speed of orthostatic HRR predicts mortality and may aid clinical decision making. Attenuated orthostatic HRR may reflect dysregulation of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.

Keywords: autonomic nervous system; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology heart rate mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / diagnosis
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / mortality
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Posture / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Time Factors