Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Association of resting heart rate with cardiovascular function: a cross-sectional study in 522 Finnish subjects

Jenni K Koskela1*, Anna Tahvanainen1, Antti Haring2, Antti J Tikkakoski1, Erkki Ilveskoski3, Jani Viitala1, Miia H Leskinen1, Terho Lehtimäki45, Mika AP Kähönen67, Tiit Kööbi7, Onni Niemelä8, Jukka T Mustonen19 and Ilkka H Pörsti19

Author Affiliations

1 School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere FIN-33014, Finland

2 School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

3 Heart Center Co., Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

4 School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

5 Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere, Finland

6 School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Physiology, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

7 Department of Clinical Physiology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

8 Laboratory and Medical Research Unit, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland

9 Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:102  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-102

Published: 15 November 2013

Abstract

Background

High resting heart rate (HR) is associated with increased cardiovascular risk in general populations, possibly due to elevated blood pressure (BP) or sympathetic over-activity. We studied the association of resting HR with cardiovascular function, and examined whether the hemodynamics remained similar during passive head-up tilt.

Methods

Hemodynamics were recorded using whole-body impedance cardiography and continuous radial pulse wave analysis in 522 subjects (age 20–72 years, 261 males) without medication influencing HR or BP, or diagnosed diabetes, coronary artery, renal, peripheral arterial, or cerebrovascular disease. Correlations were calculated, and results analysed according to resting HR tertiles.

Results

Higher resting HR was associated with elevated systolic and diastolic BP, lower stroke volume but higher cardiac output and work, and lower systemic vascular resistance, both supine and upright (p < 0.05 for all). Subjects with higher HR also showed lower supine and upright aortic pulse pressure and augmentation index, and increased resting pulse wave velocity (p < 0.001). Upright stroke volume decreased less in subjects with highest resting HR (p < 0.05), and cardiac output decreased less in subjects with lowest resting HR (p < 0.009), but clear hemodynamic differences between the tertiles persisted both supine and upright.

Conclusions

Supine and upright hemodynamic profile associated with higher resting HR is characterized by higher cardiac output and lower systemic vascular resistance. Higher resting HR was associated with reduced central wave reflection, in spite of elevated BP and arterial stiffness. The increased cardiac workload, higher BP and arterial stiffness, may explain why higher HR is associated with less favourable prognosis in populations.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01742702

Keywords:
Arterial stiffness; Cardiac output; Heart rate; Head-up tilt; Systemic vascular resistance