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Speed of Heart Rate Recovery in Response to Orthostatic Challenge

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Speed of heart rate recovery (HRR) may serve as an important biomarker of aging and mortality.


To examine whether the speed of HRR after an orthostatic maneuver (ie, active stand from supine position) predicts mortality.

Methods and Results:

A longitudinal cohort study involving a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling older individuals aged ≥50 years. A total of 4475 participants completed an active stand at baseline as part of a detailed clinic-based cardiovascular assessment. Beat-to-beat heart rate and blood pressure responses to standing were measured during a 2-minute window using a finometer and binned in 10-s intervals. We modeled HRR to the stand by age group, cardiovascular disease burden, and mortality status using a random effects model. Mortality status during a mean follow-up duration of 4.3 years served as the primary end point (n=138). Speed of HRR in the immediate 20 s after standing was a strong predictor of mortality. A 1-bpm slower HRR between 10 and 20 s after standing increased the hazard of mortality by 6% controlling for established risk factors. A clear dose–response relationship was evident. Sixty-nine participants in the slowest HRR quartile died during the observation period compared with 14 participants in the fastest HRR quartile. Participants in the slowest recovery quartile were 2.3× more likely to die compared with those in the fastest recovery quartile.


Speed of orthostatic HRR predicts mortality and may aid clinical decision making. Attenuated orthostatic HRR may reflect dysregulation of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.
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Keywords: autonomic nervous system; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology heart rate mortality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 19, 2016

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