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Excessive increase in heart rate during mental stress before exercise doubles the risk of dying suddenly from a heart attack in later life

29 April 2009

French researchers have discovered a simple and cheap method of predicting who is at greater risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. In a study of 7746 French male civil servants, published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, the researchers found that men whose heart rate increased the most during mild mental stress just before an exercise test had twice the risk of dying of a sudden heart attack in later life than men whose heart rate did not increase as much. The study is the first to discover this association and since taking a patient’s pulse is an easy and inexpensive procedure, it suggests a way of identifying people who may be at increased risk.

From the paper: Excessive heart rate increase during mild mental stress in preparation for exercise predicts sudden death in the general population
Xavier Jouven, Peter J. Schwartz, Sylvie Escolano, Celine Straczek, Muriel Tafflet, Michel Desnos, Jean Philippe Empana, and Pierre Ducimetiere

Publised in the European Heart Journal, Advanced Access, 24th March 2009

Read the press release online

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