Importance of Heart Rate in Determining Cardiovascular Risk

  • Paolo Palatini
Part of the Contemporary Cardiology book series (CONCARD)


A body of evidence indicates that subjects with tachycardia are more likely to develop hypertension (1–3) and atherosclerosis in future years (4–6). However, the connection between heart rate and the cardiovascular risk has long been neglected, on the grounds that tachycardia is often associated with the traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as hypertension or metabolic abnormalities (7). A high heart rate is currently considered only an epiphenomenon of a complex clinical condition rather than an independent risk factor. However, most epidemiogic studies showed that the predictive power of a fast heart rate for cardiovascular disease remains significant even when its relative risk is adjusted for all major risk factors for atherosclerosis and other confounders (4–7). In this chapter, the results of the main studies that dealt with the relation between tachycardia and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality will be summarized, and the pathogenesis of the connection between fast heart rate and cardiovascular disease will be the focus.


Heart Rate Acute Myocardial Infarction High Heart Rate Sympathetic Overactivity Fast Heart Rate 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Paolo Palatini

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