Editorial eMedinewS

Health Care 191 Comments

Gender–specific formula for women’s
peak heart rate ‘more accurate’

We should start using a new gender–specific formula for a woman’s peak heart rate as it better predicts the risk of heart–related death. A simple formula, 220 minus age, has long been used to calculate peak heart rates for women and men during exercise. But this formula was based on studies of men. The new formula developed for women is 206 minus 88% of age.

At age 50, the peak heart rate for a man will be 170 beats per minute and for woman will be 162 beats per minute. Most use the peak heart rate multiplied by 65% to 85% to calculate maximum heart rate when exercising.

The new formula is based on an analysis of 5,437 healthy women aged 35 and older (average age 52) from the greater Chicago metropolitan area, who volunteered to take part in the St. James Women Take Heart Project, launched in 1992.

Using the old formula, one is more ‘likely’ to tell women they have a worse prognosis than they do men. The new formula predicts risk more accurately said Dr. Martha Gulati, an assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. There is a physiologic response in women that is different from men. The study appears in the June 28 online issue of Circulation. (Story idea: Dr Vijay Grover)

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief