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  1. Dunbar, Sandra B.
  2. Farr, Lynne


Circadian patterns of heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and rate-pressure product were compared in elders with heart disease (N = 22, mean age 86 years) and a comparison group (N = 18, mean age 80 years) who did not have a cardiac diagnosis. For 4 consecutive days, automated measures of heart rate, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and rate-pressure product were taken every 2 hours while subjects were awake. Activity-rest patterns were recorded by an observer, and demographic and medication profiles were obtained. Data were subjected to cosinor analysis, and the groups were compared on rhythmic parameters. Although the cardiac subjects were older, in poorer health, less active, and more prone to daytime napping, they exhibited more rhythms in rate-pressure product than did the comparison subjects. The cardiac group also had more synchronized oscillation of overt heart rate and systolic blood pressure rhythms. These results can be attributed to standardized times of cardiac medication administration. Attention to patterns of heart rate and systolic blood pressure in elders may suggest more appropriate times of day for conducting individual cardiac assessments.