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J Hypertens. 2001 May;19(5):863-9.

Combined effects of heart rate and pulse pressure on cardiovascular mortality according to age.

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Centre d'Investigation Préventives et Cliniques, Paris, France.



The aim of the study was to assess the combined effects of pulse pressure (PP) and heart rate (HR) on cardiovascular mortality in a large French population.


The study population was composed of 125,513 men and 96,301 women aged 16-95 years who had a health check-up at the IPC Center between January 1978 and December 1988. Subjects taking antihypertensive treatment were excluded. Mortality was assessed for an 8-year period. HR and PP were classified into three groups. HR groups were: < 60, 60-79 and > or = 80 beats per minute (bpm). PP groups were: < 50, 50-64 and > or = 65 mmHg.


In men, PP and HR were both positively associated with cardiovascular mortality risk. In women, mean arterial pressure (MAP) but not PP or HR was associated with cardiovascular mortality. In men, a combined elevation of PP and HR was associated with an important increase of cardiovascular mortality risk. The group with the highest PP and the highest HR had a 4.8-fold increase in cardiovascular mortality risk as compared to the reference group (PP < 50 mmHg and HR < 60 bpm). This effect was more pronounced in younger men (5.4-fold increase) than in older men (3.7-fold increase), as compared to the reference groups of the same age. In women, the combined effects of PP and HR on cardiovascular mortality were not significant.


A combined elevation of the two components of pulsatile arterial stress is associated with an important increase in cardiovascular mortality in men, especially in younger men. In women, steady-state stress (evaluated primarily by MAP), but not pulsatile stress, is an important determinant of cardiovascular mortality.

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