Javaid Nauman of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim and colleagues conducted a study to examine the association of changes in resting heart rate with the risk of death from ischemic heart disease in 13,499 men and 15,826 women without known cardiovascular disease.
Resting heart rate was measured on two occasions around 10 years apart, with the second resting heart rate measurement taking place between August 1995 and June 1997, Nauman said. Patients were tracked until December 2008.
During an average of 12 years of follow-up, a total of 3,038 people died -- 975 by cardiovascular disease and 388 due to ischemic heart disease.
The researchers found that compared with participants with a resting heart rate of less than 70 beats/min at both measurements, participants with a resting heart rate of less than 70 beats/min at the first measurement but greater than 85 beats/min at the second measurement had a 90 percent increased risk of death from ischemic heart disease.
Participants with resting heart rates between 70 and 85 beats/min at the first measurement and greater than 85 beats/min at the second measurement had an 80 percent increased risk, Nauman said.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.