Drop in Resting Heart Rate in Youth ‘Not a Good Thing’

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

MONDAY April 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Children who have a sudden drop in their resting heart rate as they enter adulthood may be at increased risk for heart disease later in life, researchers report.

For their new study, they evaluated data from 759 black and white participants in the Augusta Heart Study, designed to assess the development of risk factors for heart disease. He followed young participants from the Augusta, Georgia area who were in good health and aged 5 to 16 at the time of enrollment, as they were growing into adulthood.

Over 21 years, participants’ resting heart rate was checked at least three times. More than half have had their heart rate checked eight or more times, up to a maximum of 15 times.

The researchers found that 30% of participants started with a low resting heart rate, which declined relatively quickly as they entered young adulthood; 45.6% started with a moderate resting heart rate and had a moderate decrease; and just over 24% started with a high resting heart rate and a small decrease.


The decreases in heart rate were 24.1, 19.1, and 17.4 beats per minute, respectively.

Further investigation found a significant association between a faster decrease in resting heart rate from childhood to adulthood and a larger left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart.

A faster decrease in heart rate was also associated with a higher level of pressure inside the body’s blood vessels, which the heart has to pump against to distribute blood and oxygen throughout the body.

These associations were generally stronger in black participants, according to the study from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, published recently in the journal. Acta Cardiologica.

“An unexplained decline over time is not a good thing,” said study author Dr. Gaston Kapuku, cardiovascular researcher at MCG’s Georgia Prevention Institute, in a college press release.

In response to continuous pumping against high blood pressure, the left ventricle enlarges but weakens, which can eventually lead to heart failure, the researchers explained.


So, unless a significant decrease in heart rate is due to intense aerobic activity, this is likely an indication that the person is at increased risk for heart disease and may benefit from medications, a pacemaker, or a pacemaker. exercise to normalize the frequency, according to the study authors.

More information

The Heart Rhythm Society has more on a slow heartbeat.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, press release, April 14, 2021

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