Women's pulse measurement predicts coronary risk

A simple measurement of resting pulse predicts coronary events in women independently of physical activity and common risk factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a BMJ study.

Photograph: JH Lancy
Photograph: JH Lancy

Previous studies have shown that resting heart rate predicts coronary events in men. But, for women, the relationship between heart rate and coronary events or stroke remains uncertain.

US researchers assessed resting heart rate in 129,135 postmenopausal women with no history of heart problems.

High BP, high cholesterol levels, smoking and alcohol intake were taken into account at the start. The women were monitored for an average of 7.8 years, during which time all hospital stays and coronary events were recorded.

Women with the highest resting heart rate (more than 76 beats per minute) were significantly more likely to suffer a coronary event than women with the lowest resting heart rate (62 beats per minute or less).

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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