Features January 2011 Issue

Persistent High Heart Rate Raises Mortality Rate in CHD Patients

A high heart rate in patients with stable coronary heart disease raises the risk of complications even when other factors are under control.

The results of a large study presented at the October 2010 Canadian Cardio­vas­cu­lar Congress show that patients with stable coronary heart disease, but with a high heart rate, have a significantly higher risk of death than those with a lower heart rate. Researchers found that patients with heart rates greater than 78 had a 39 percent increased risk of suffering a major vascular event, a 77 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease death, and a 65 percent increased risk of death from all causes. "Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats every minute," says Michael D. Faulx, MD, FACC, a staff cardiologist at the Heart and Vascular Institute and associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Cleveland Clinic.

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