News | EP Lab | January 19, 2016

Slow Heart Rate Does Not Increase Risk of Heart Disease

bradycardia, Wake Forest Baptist study, development of heart disease

January 19, 2016 — Bradycardia – a slower than normal heartbeat – does not increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The study is published in the Jan.19 online edition of the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

“For a large majority of people with a heart rate in the 40s or 50s who have no symptoms, the prognosis is very good,” said Ajay Dharod, M.D., instructor in internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and corresponding author of the study. “Our results should be reassuring for those diagnosed with asymptomatic bradycardia.”

The heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute in an adult at rest. But with bradycardia, the heart beats fewer than 50 times a minute. The condition can cause light-headedness, shortness of breath, fainting or chest pain due to the heart not pumping enough oxygen-rich blood through the body.

However, until now, there had not been any research to determine if a slow heart rate contributed to the development of cardiovascular disease.

In the Wake Forest Baptist study, the scientists conducted an analysis of 6,733 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). This study, which was sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, included men and women ages 45 to 84 who did not have cardiovascular disease when first recruited into this study, but who may have been on heart rate-modifying medications frequently used to treat hypertension. Study participants were followed for more than 10 years to monitor cardiovascular events and mortality.

The researchers found that a heart rate (HR) of less than 50 was not associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in participants regardless of whether they were taking HR-modifying drugs, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers.

However, the study did show a potential association between bradycardia and higher mortality rates in individuals taking HR-modifying drugs.

“Bradycardia may be problematic in people who are taking medications that also slow their heart rate,” Dharod said. “Further research is needed to determine whether this association is causally linked to heart rate or to the use of these drugs.”

Co-authors include Elsayed Z. Soliman, M.D.; Farah Dawood, M.D.; Haiying Chen, M.D., Ph.D.; and Alain G. Bertoni, M.D., of Wake Forest Baptist; Steven Shea, M.D., of Columbia University; and Saman Nazarian, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Health System.

For more information: www.wakehealth.edu

Related Content

Study Shows Multiple Benefits of Patient-to-Patient Connectivity in Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 07, 2018
Akcea Therapeutics Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced the publication of results from the...
Being Overweight May Change Young Adults' Heart Structure, Function
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 03, 2018
Even as a young adult, being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and thicken heart muscle, setting the stage for...
High Intensity Exercise in Teenagers Could Ward Off Heart Disease

Ultrasound image of the carotid artery. Lines in yellow were used to determine arterial diameter and stretching before and following exercise.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics | July 16, 2018
New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health benefits of...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | June 14, 2018
A team of researchers says it has linked sensitivity to an allergen in red meat to the buildup of plaque in the...
The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

 

Feature | Cardiac Diagnostics | May 07, 2018 | Steven D. Freedman, M.D., Ph.D.
 
Male Triathletes May Be Putting Their Heart Health at Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 09, 2018
Competitive male triathletes face a higher risk of a potentially harmful heart condition called myocardial fibrosis,...
ERT Acquires iCardiac Technologies
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 19, 2017
ERT recently announced it has acquired iCardiac Technologies, a provider of centralized cardiac safety and respiratory...
Overlay Init