Heart Rate Reveals Risk of Sudden Death
Test May Show Heart-Rate Abnormalities in Seemingly Healthy Men
WebMD News Archive
May 11, 2005 -- A man's risk of sudden death may show up in a simple
exercise test, say French doctors.
Ten minutes or less of pedaling on a stationary bike was all it took, they
report in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The danger signs were clear in hindsight. When the test was done, the men
were apparently healthy, say Xavier Jouven, MD, and colleagues.
All the more reason not to take your heart for granted. Heart disease (which
includes heart attacks) is a leading cause of death for men and women in the
Jouven and colleagues followed more than 5,700 French men for 23 years. The
exercise test was given at the study's start, when the men were 42 to 53 years
All of the men worked for the French government. Age, diabetes, smoking,
cholesterol, and other risk factors were noted.
During the test, the men cycled for up to 10 minutes. Their heart rate was
monitored before, during, and after exercise. If their heart rate got
dangerously high, the test was stopped early.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, 81 men in the group had died
Three findings stood out:
- A heart rate of more than 75 beats per minute before exercise (resting
- An increase of less than 89 beats per minute during peak exercise
- A decrease of less than 25 beats per minute after exercise
The normal range of resting heart rate can vary. The American Heart
Association (AHA) says the normal range is 60-80 beats per minute.