Slow heart rate 'does not increase heart disease risk'

21 January 2016

People with a slow heart rate should not generally be concerned about a higher risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center research has offered evidence that a slower than normal heartbeat - known as bradycardia - does not increase a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

A total of 6,733 participants without cardiovascular disease were followed for more than ten years to monitor cardiovascular events and mortality, with a heart rate of lower than 50 not shown to be associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.

Among participants taking heart rate-modifying drugs, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, the risk of cardiovascular disease was not elevated, although this group generally experienced a higher mortality rate.

Further research is needed to determine whether this association can be causally linked to the person's heart rate or to the use of the drugs.

Study author Dr Ajay Dharod, instructor in internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said: "For a large majority of people with a heart rate in the 40s or 50s who have no symptoms, the prognosis is very good. Our results should be reassuring for those diagnosed with asymptomatic bradycardia."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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