Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) has been associated with faster cognitive decline and increased dementia risk. Factors associated with dementia in patients with AF have been seldom studied.
Methods and results: We studied 6432 individuals from the ARIC-NCS (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study). In 2011 to 2013, participants underwent a physical exam, echocardiography, detailed cognitive assessments, and a subset, brain magnetic resonance imaging. Dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), as well as etiology of MCI/dementia, Alzheimer's disease-related or vascular, were adjudicated by an expert panel. AF was defined by study ECGs and past hospitalizations. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios and 95% CI of MCI/dementia by AF status and to assess cross-sectional correlates of MCI/dementia in patients with AF. Among 6432 participants, 611 (9.5%) had prevalent AF. AF was associated with increased odds of dementia and MCI (odds ratio, 95% CI, 2.25, 1.64-3.10, and 1.28, 1.04-1.56, respectively). Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease-related MCI/dementia and vascular MCI/dementia were higher in participants with AF than without AF (odds ratio, 95% CI, 1.29, 1.04-1.61, and 1.50, 0.99-2.25, respectively). In multivariable analyses, older age, lower body mass index, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and APOE genotype were associated with dementia prevalence in participants with AF. In models evaluating MCI/dementia subtypes, diabetes mellitus was associated with Alzheimer's disease-related MCI/dementia, whereas male sex and stroke were risk factors for vascular MCI/dementia.
Conclusions: In a large, community-based study, AF was associated with higher prevalence of MCI and dementia. Controlling cardiometabolic risk factors is a potential target for prevention of adverse cognitive outcomes in AF patients.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation; cognitive impairment; dementia; risk factor.
© 2017 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.