AF a risk factor for dementia in adults younger than 70 years

August 07, 2022

1 min read

Giannone reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Atrial fibrillation conferred elevated risk for dementia in adults younger than 70 years, according to study findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

However, the risk was not evident before age 65 years.

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“[This study] provides evidence that adults with AF experience an increase in the risk of developing dementia before the age of 65 to 70 years,” Marie Edvige Giannone, MD, from the department of biomedical, metabolic and neural sciences, and the Environmental, Genetic and Nutritional Epidemiology Research Center at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Modena, Italy, and colleagues wrote.

In this systematic review and meta-analysis, Giannone and colleagues included six studies reporting on the association between AF and dementia in adults younger than 70 years.

Giannone and colleagues observed the incidence of dementia in participants with no history of AF and in those who had a history of AF or an AF diagnosis at baseline, according to the study.

Of the six studies comprising approximately 1.6 million patients (mean age, 42-85 years), three reported the incidence of overall dementia at all ages and early-onset dementia. Diagnosis of AF was mainly identified by hospital discharge, admission records or after confirmed diagnosis, the researchers wrote.

AF was associated with increased risk for early-onset dementia (RR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1-2.26).

When the researchers used stroke-censored data and excluded vascular dementia, AF-related risk for early-onset dementia remained (RR = 1.38; 95% CI, 0.91-2.11).

The relationship between AF and early-onset dementia strengthened at older ages (RR for younger than 65 years =1.06; 95% CI, 0.54-2.06; RR for younger than 67 years = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.11-2.95; RR for younger than 70 years = 2.13; 95% CI, 1.58-2.87).

“Our findings are consistent with the overall association between AF and dementia risk,” Giannone and colleagues wrote. “A causal link between AF and dementia in all age groups is also supported by findings of studies that have investigated the effect of AF therapy in dementia prevention.”

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