• autonomic nervous system;
  • ambulatory ECG;
  • cardiac mortality;
  • C-reactive protein;
  • heart rate turbulence

HRT and CRP for Mortality Risk in Elderly. Introduction: We examined whether heart rate turbulence (HRT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) add to traditional risk factors for cardiac mortality in older adults at low, intermediate, and high risk.

Methods and Results: One thousand two hundred and seventy-two individuals, age ≥65 years, with 24-hour Holter recordings were studied. HRT, which quantifies heart rate response to ventricular premature contractions, was categorized as: both turbulence onset (TO) and turbulence slope (TS) normal; TO abnormal; TS abnormal; or both abnormal. Independent risks for cardiac mortality associated with HRT or, for comparison, elevated CRP (>3.0 mg/L), were calculated using Cox regression analysis adjusted for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors and stratified by the presence of no, isolated subclinical (i.e., intermediate risk) or clinical cardiovascular disease. Having TS + TO abnormal compared to both normal was associated with cardiac mortality in the low-risk group [HR 7.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.8–22.5, (P < 0.001)]. In the high and intermediate risk groups, abnormal TS and TS + TO ([HR 2.2, 95% CI 1.5–4.0, P = 0.016] and [HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.2–5.9, P = 0.012]), respectively, were also significantly associated with cardiac mortality. In contrast, elevated CRP was associated with increased cardiac mortality risk only in low-risk individuals [HR 2.5, 95% CI 1.3–5.1, P = 0.009]. Among low risk, the c-statistic was 0.706 for the base model, 0.725 for the base model with CRP, and 0.767 for the base model with HRT.

Conclusions: Abnormal HRT independently adds to risk stratification of low, intermediate and high-risk individuals, but HRT and CRP appear to both add to stratification of those considered low risk. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 22, pp. 122-127, February 2011)