The relationship between resting heart rate and all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality

Eur Heart J. 1997 Sep;18(9):1404-10. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.eurheartj.a015465.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors