WEDNESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A possible new risk
factor for death from heart disease in seniors has been identified
The study of almost 1,300 people aged 65 and older focused on
heart rate turbulence, which refers to how smoothly the heart rate
returns to normal after a premature contraction, a fairly common
Over 14 years of follow-up, abnormal heart rate turbulence was
associated with an eight to nine times increased risk of death from
heart disease among participants who were considered at low risk
for heart disease based on traditional factors such as age, gender,
blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, obesity, diabetes and
About 7 percent of the study participants had abnormal heart
rate turbulence, the investigators found.
"These findings suggest that apparently healthy people might be at increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and heart rate turbulence may help us identify them," Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), said in an institute news release.
"It will be important to see if we can replicate this finding in other populations," she added.
The NHLBI funded the study, which was published in the Feb. 15
issue of the
Journal of the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more