Heart failure linked to cognitive impairment

Feb 05, 2009

Nearly half of patients with heart failure (HF) have problems with memory and other aspects of cognitive functioning, reports a new study published by Elsevier, in the February issue of Journal of Cardiac Failure .

Memory problems and other cognitive deficits may be an important factor to consider in planning medical care for patients with HF, according to the new study, led by Mary Jane Sauvé, D.N.Sc., R.N., of the University of California, Davis.

The researchers administered tests of cognitive (intellectual) function to 50 patients with HF and 50 people without HF, matched for age and estimated intelligence. Most of the patients had mild to moderate HF. Overall, patients with HF scored lower than controls on 14 of 19 cognitive tests. Forty-six percent of the HF patients were rated as having mild to severe cognitive impairment, compared to a 16 percent rate of mild impairment in controls. Memory problems, especially short-term memory, were the most common type of cognitive deficit.

With adjustment for other factors, the risk of cognitive impairment was more than four times higher in the HF group. The rate, types, and severity of cognitive impairment in this group of patients living with HF were similar to those seen in patients with end-stage HF awaiting heart transplantation.

Changes in cognitive function have long been recognized in patients with heart disease. Although past reports have noticed an increased rate of cognitive impairment among people with HF, this has been assumed to reflect the age-related risk of cognitive decline.

These findings may have important implications for the care of patients with HF, Dr. Sauvé and colleagues believe. For example, "Care instructions and medication or dietary changes need to be written and given verbally because of patient difficulties with information requiring attention, learning, and memory functions."

"This is a very important article dealing with a neglected area of research," commented Barry M. Massie, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cardiac Failure. "The authors have performed a well-designed study assessing heart failure patients for cognitive impairment, which was significant in a substantial proportion of patients. Furthermore, it was closely related to the severity of symptoms or left ventricular dysfunction. Clinicians should be aware of this problem, as it has the potential to interfere with optimal patient management."

Journal website: www.elsevier.com/locate/cardfail>

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Florida university opens TB lab in Haiti

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cognitive Problems Can Worsen the Effects of Heart Failure

May 07, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Surviving heart failure calls for making lifestyle changes, taking medications and following a doctor's orders. Some of the nation's 5 million heart failure patients have trouble adhering to these changes ...

Recommended for you

Saudi Arabia reports pilgrim infected with MERS

10 minutes ago

In the past 24 hours, Saudi Arabia has reported four new deaths from a Middle East virus related to SARS and 36 more cases of infection, including a Turkish pilgrim in Mecca.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Team reprograms blood cells into blood stem cells in mice

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have reprogrammed mature blood cells from mice into blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), using a cocktail of eight genetic switches called transcription factors. The reprogrammed ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...