Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Mindy Staveteig

Second Advisor

Kristofor Paulson


Resting Heart Rate; Resting Tachycardia; Resting Bradycardia; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular Disease; Morbidity; Mortality


The purpose of the presented research and systematic review is to determine the associated impact resting heart rate has on development of cardiovascular disease. A literature review was conducted through electronic databases: PubMed, Clinical Key and Dynamed Plus. No limitation of timeframe was used when researching as few studies are available correlating resting heart rate and its associated development of cardiovascular disease. Research points to limitations of lowering resting heart rate due to adverse effects on blood pressure. Additionally, tachycardia is addressed through several methods including lifestyle modification and pharmacologic therapy. Comorbidities such as obesity, low body mass index (BMI), diabetes, hypertension and preexisting heart disease are influential factors in target heart rate therapy. Research concludes individuals benefit from a reduction in resting heart rate to less than 80 beats per minute, regardless of gender or ethnicity. Reduction of heart rate below 60 beats per minute shows no added benefit and can cause a paradoxical rise in blood pressure as a compensatory mechanism by the cardiovascular system, ultimately negating the benefits of lowered resting heart rate.