Introduction: Arterial stiffness is related to aging, hypertension, and obesity, and higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is associated with brain amyloid deposition. We hypothesized that higher cfPWV was associated with incident dementia in older adults (mean age 78) of the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS-CS).
Methods: Pittsburgh CHS-CS participants (n=532) without dementia at baseline (1998-99) had annual cognitive exams through 2013. CfPWV (m/sec) was measured from pulse velocity waveforms on 356 participants between 1996-2000, who were slightly younger, more educated, with less mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than those not included. Associations of cfPWV [continuous (transformed: -1/cfPWV) and quartile] with time-to-event [cfPWV measurement to dementia or death (competing event), or end of follow-up] were assessed in Cox proportional hazards model with competing risk of death.
Results: Over 15-year follow-up, 212 (59.6%) dementia cases (median onset time=4 years) and 87 (24.4%) deaths occurred prior to dementia diagnosis. Adjusted for age and sex, incident dementia was related to higher cfPWV [hazard ratio (HR)=1.52 per -1/cfPWV, 95%CI=1.04, 2.24] (Table). Results were similar when further adjusted for education, race, ApoE4, hypertension, diabetes, MCI, and abnormal white matter (WMG) or ventricular grade (VG). Results persisted in separate models that excluded those with ApoE4+ (n=79), diabetes (n=40), MCI (n=65) or abnormal WMG or VG (n=136). In stratified models, results were stronger for age ≥80 vs. <80 and for hypertension vs. no hypertension. Pulse pressure (PP), another index of arterial stiffness, was not associated with incident dementia (age- and sex-adjusted HR=1.01 per mmHg PP, 95%CI=0.99, 1.01).
Conclusions: Higher cfPWV, but not higher PP, was significantly associated with incident dementia in the older adults. Interventions to slow arterial stiffness with aging may reduce the risk of dementia among older individuals.