Aims: The association between resting heart rate and changes in heart rate with all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality was studied among 1827 men and 2929 women, aged 40-80 years, followed for 12 years.
Methods and results: After adjustment for initial age, serum cholesterol, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, smoking and diabetes, the all-cause mortality hazard ratio was 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.4-2.2) for heart rate increments of 20 beats.min-1 for men and 1.4 (confidence interval 1.1-1.8) for women. For cardiovascular mortality, the risk estimates were 1.7 (confidence interval 1.2-2.6) for men and 1.3 (confidence interval 0.9-2.0) for women. We observed no significant association between heart rate and cancer mortality. For women, stronger predictive information for all-cause mortality was provided if changes in heart rate were evident at the 2-year review.
Conclusion: The resting heart rate is a predictor of mortality, independent of major cardiovascular risk factors.