Association of Resting Heart Rate With Arterial Stiffness and Low-Grade Inflammation in Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

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Resting heart rate (RHR) is associated with arterial stiffness, inflammation, and cardiovascular (CV) and all-cause mortality in the general population and in patients at high CV risk. We assessed the association of RHR with arterial stiffness and low-grade inflammation (LGI) in a cross-sectional study that included 101 women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) without a history of CV disease or arrhythmia or who were under treatment that may cause bradycardia. Pulse wave velocity (PWV; a measure of arterial stiffness), RHR, and markers of LGI (ie, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, insulin, and homeostatic model assessment index) were measured. The patients with the highest RHR (quartile 4; mean RHR = 87.2 bpm) had a PWV 0.61 m/s (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08-1.14; P = .024) greater than patients with the lowest RHR (quartile 1; RHR = 63.0 bpm), independent of age, systolic blood pressure, disease activity, smoking, and being physically inactive. Similarly, patients with the highest RHR (quartile 4) showed a significantly less favorable clustered LGI index than patients in quartile 1 (b = .58; 95% CI: 0.212-0.948; P = .002). Higher RHR is associated with greater arterial stiffness and LGI in women with SLE. Further research to determine the prognostic value of RHR in this population is warranted.

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