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Author Notes:

Correspondence to: Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd NE, CNR 3051, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: alvaro.alonso@emory.edu

We thank the staff and participants of the ARIC Study for their important contributions.


Research Funding:

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Community (ARIC) Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN2682011000010C, HHSN2682011000011C, and HHSN2682011000012C).

Neurocognitive data are collected by the support of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute U01 HL096812, HL096814, HL096899, HL096902, and HL096917 with previous brain MRI examinations funded by R01‐HL70825.

This work was additionally supported by American Heart Association grant 16EIA26410001 (Alonso) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awards K23HL127251 (Shah) and F32HL134290 (O'Neal).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Cardiac & Cardiovascular Systems
  • Cardiovascular System & Cardiology
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • risk factor

Correlates of Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS)


Journal Title:

Journal of the American Heart Association


Volume 6, Number 7


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


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.

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© 2017 The Authors

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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