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New Potential Risk Factor of Heart Disease Reported in NIH-Funded Study

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A recent study demonstrates a correlation between abnormal heart rate turbulence and increased risk of heart disease death in otherwise low-risk older individuals. The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and supported by the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, followed 1,272 adults over the age of 65 as part of the NHLB's Cardiovascular Health Study. The findings, which appear in the February 15 edition of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, indicate that heart rate turbulence may serve as a diagnostic tool in determining an individual's risk for death from cardiovascular disease.

Study participants, who were determined to be at low risk of heart disease based on traditional risk factors, were reported to be on average 8-9 times more likely to die of heart disease during the follow-up period of approximately 14 years if they demonstrated abnormal heart rate turbulence values. Abnormal heart rate turbulence was also reported to be a greater heart disease risk factor than elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Low-risk individuals with elevated CRP in their blood were about 2.5 times more likely to die than those with normal or low CRP. Although heart rate turbulence measurement is not widely available, the study indicates that such measurement may have immense potential for use in clinical diagnostic settings as well as disease prevention and prediction.

2011 Ernst Schering Prize Awarded

Bert O'Malley, MD, chair of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Tom Thompson Distinguished Service Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, was named as the 2011 Ernst Schering Prize awardee. Dr. O'Malley, who also serves as associate director of basic science in the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, is recognized for his innovative work on the actions of steroid hormones and …

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