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Heart rate and microinflammation in men: a relevant atherothrombotic link


Objective and background: To explore the possibility that increased resting heart rate (HR) is associated with a microinflammatory response. Such an association could explain, at least in part, the recently described worse cardiovascular prognosis in individuals with increased HR.

Methods: Concentrations of fibrinogen and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, as well as the absolute number of polymorphonuclear leucocytes, were analysed in a cohort of 4553 apparently healthy men and in those with atherothrombotic risk factors.

Results: Following adjustment for age and body mass index, lipid profile and cardiovascular risk factors, a significant (p<0.001) difference was noted between individuals in the first quintile of HR (⩽58 beats/min) and those in the fifth quintile (⩾79 beats/min) regarding all the above-mentioned inflammatory biomarkers, the respective mean values being 7.38 and 8.11 μmol/l, 1.12 and 1.61 mg/l, and 4.23 and 4.74×109/l.

Conclusions: Resting HR is associated with a microinflammatory response in apparently healthy men and in those with atherothrombotic risk factors. Sympathetic activation might be a common factor explaining such an association. If confirmed in additional studies, this association might be a relevant target for therapeutic manipulations.

  • ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme
  • ARB, angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • BMI, body mass index
  • HDL, high density lipoprotein
  • HR, heart rate
  • hs-CRP, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • LDL, low density lipoprotein
  • TAMCIS, Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey
  • WBCC, white blood cell count

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