Cardiac Dysfunction and Cognition in Older Adults With Heart Failure

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Abstract

Objectives

To characterize cognition in patients with moderate to severe heart failure and examine the association between 2 measures of systemic perfusion (ie, ejection fraction and cardiac index) and cognition.

Background

Decreased systemic perfusion has been implicated as an etiologic factor in the development of cognitive deficits in cardiovascular disease.

Method

Thirty-one patients with moderate to severe heart failure and 31 patients with cardiovascular disease and no heart failure completed a medical history interview and neuropsychologic assessment. Participants with heart failure additionally underwent an echocardiogram to assess cardiac function.

Results

Patients with heart failure performed significantly worse than the cardiovascular disease-no heart failure group on several measures of executive functioning and psychomotor speed. Among the heart failure group, lower ejection fraction was associated with weaker global cognition, performance on several, but not all, measures of executive functioning, and was marginally associated with delayed memory. Decreased cardiac index was associated with poorer immediate memory and weakly associated with global cognition.

Conclusions

Findings suggest that depressed systemic perfusion is associated with cognitive deficits among patients with heart failure. Research including measures of cardiac function, cerebral perfusion, and cognition will be necessary to clarify the causal nature of the suggested mechanism.

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