Risk Factors for Dementia in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

Aniqa B. Alam, Pamela L. Lutsey, Lin Y. Chen, Richard F. MacLehose, Iris Y. Shao, Alvaro Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although dementia and atrial fibrillation (AF) are common in older adults, risk factors for dementia have not been sufficiently characterized in patients with AF. We studied 621,773 patients with AF without dementia at the time of AF diagnosis who were enrolled in the MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental databases from 2007 to 2015. Dementia incidence and presence of predictors at the time of AF diagnosis (cardiometabolic conditions, mental and neurologic disorders, and other chronic conditions) were based on International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes in outpatient and inpatient claims, whereas medication usage was based on outpatient pharmacy claims. A frailty score was calculated using a previously established algorithm. The associations between the predictors of interest and dementia were assessed with multivariable Cox models. Patients had a mean age of 68 years (SD 14 years) and 41% were women. During a mean follow-up of 2.0 years, there were 16,073 cases of dementia. The strongest predictors of dementia were frailty (hazard ratio [HR] 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.40 to 1.45, per 1-SD increase in the score), cognitive impairment (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.36 to 1.65), mood disorders (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.70), schizophrenia (HR 1.86, 95% CI 1.75 to 1.98), and substance abuse (HR 1.58, 95% CI 1.39 to 1.80). Among cardiometabolic conditions, only stroke (HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.22) and diabetes mellitus (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.18) were associated with small increases in dementia risk after adjusting for demographics, frailty, co-morbidities, and medications. We have identified several risk factors for dementia in patients with AF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland under award numbers R01HL122200, K24HL148521, K24HL159246, R21AG058445, and P30AG066511. This work was also supported by American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas, grant 16EIA2641001.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


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