Cardiovascular risk in a rural adult West African population: is resting heart rate also relevant?

Setor Kunutsor, John Powles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Elevated resting heart rate (RHR) is a neglected marker in cardiovascular risk factor studies of sub-Saharan African populations. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of elevated RHR and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to investigate any associations between RHR and these risk factors in a rural population in Ghana.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.

METHODS: A total of 574 adults aged between 18-65 years were randomly sampled from a population register. Data collected included those on sociodemographic variables and anthropometric, blood pressure (BP), and RHR measurements. Within-person variability in RHR was calculated using data from repeat measurements taken 2 weeks apart.

RESULTS: Of study participants, 36% were male. Prevalence of casual high BP was 19%. In the population, 10% were current cigarette smokers and habitual alcohol use was high at 56%. As measured by body mass index, 2% were obese and 14% had abdominal obesity. RHR was elevated (>90 bpm) in 19%. Overall, 79% of study participants were found to have at least one CVD risk factor. RHR was significantly associated with age, waist circumference, and BP. Individuals with an elevated RHR had a higher risk (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.15-3.26%, p = 0.013) of casual high BP compared with participants with normal RHR independently of several established CVD risk factors. The regression dilution ratio of RHR was 0.75 (95% CI 0.62-0.89).

CONCLUSIONS: Significant associations were observed between RHR and several established cardiovascular risk factors. Prospective studies are needed in sub-Saharan African populations to establish the potential value of RHR in cardiovascular risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-91
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Surveys
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health
  • Young Adult

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