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Resting heart rate: what is normal?
  1. David Nanchen
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Nanchen, Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; david.nanchen{at}

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Resting heart rate (RHR) is a clinical parameter easily measurable with typical value between 50 and 90 beats per minute (bpm) that varies during the day with a night-time decrease.1 RHR can go down to 30 bpm in those with good physical condition, but RHR is also partly genetically determined, with slightly higher values in women than in men.2 The interpretation of RHR by clinicians is traditionally done in the acute setting, typically for evaluation of pulmonary embolism or acute infection. It is now possible to continuously and accurately self-measure RHR using a mobile phone or a watch bracelet, so that monitoring RHR has become very popular in the general population.3 Therefore, it is important for physicians to know the clinical significance of RHR and its usefulness for chronic disease prevention in healthy adults.

Life expectancy of animal species is inversely correlated with their RHR.4 Such ecological observation has led scientists to investigate the impact of RHR on disease development in humans. In recent years, many epidemiological studies have demonstrated a significant association between RHR and cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular outcomes.5–7 Despite this large piece of evidence, there is still no established recommendation for healthy RHR values in adults. One explanation for this lack of consensus may be the paucity …

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  • Funding DN researches are supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF 32473B_163271, Long-term benefit of the multi-center, multi-dimensional secondary prevention program in patients with acute coronary syndromes).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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