News | Atrial Fibrillation | November 15, 2016

Atrial Fibrillation Patients at Increased Risk of Dementia Regardless of Anticoagulation Use

Study results suggest the way heart rhythms are treated could have impact on all forms of dementia

atrial fibrillation, warfarin, dementia, Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, American Heart Association, AHA Scientific Sessions 2016

November 15, 2016 — Atrial fibrillation patients who use warfarin to lower risk of stroke are at higher risk of developing dementia than patients who use warfarin for non-atrial fibrillation conditions, according to a new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that raises the risk of small clots forming in the heart and leading to a stroke. Warfarin is the most common anticoagulant drug used worldwide to lower risk of the harmful clots from forming and causing stroke.

For the study, Intermountain researchers looked at more than 6,000 patients who had no history of dementia and were chronically anticoagulated using warfarin for any indication – not just atrial fibrillation. The patients were then divided into two groups: those with atrial fibrillation who were using warfarin, and those using warfarin who did not have atrial fibrillation.

After adjusting for multiple variations, patients with atrial fibrillation were two to three times more likely to develop dementia compared to the patients who were on warfarin, but did not have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.

“Atrial fibrillation patients are at higher risk of developing all forms of dementia compared to patients without atrial fibrillation. Warfarin is used to lower risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, but when the blood levels of the drug are erratic it contributes to the dementia risk. This dementia risk is observed in people with and without atrial fibrillation that are exposed to long-term warfarin treatment” said Jared Bunch, M.D., lead author of the study and director of electrophysiology at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

“Even when we consider the influence of warfarin on dementia risk, the presence of atrial fibrillation conveys additional risk of dementia. This suggests that they way we manage the abnormal heart rhythm, beyond just the practice of preventing blood clots through warfarin, may be a way we can further lower the risk of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in patients with atrial fibrillation,” Bunch added.

Results of the study were presented during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Nov. 12-16 in New Orleans.

Seven years ago, researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that patients with atrial fibrillation had much higher rates of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, researchers have continued to explore the association between atrial fibrillation and dementia in an effort to better understand and identify ways to prevent dementia in heart patients.

“Further research is needed to identify the many complex mechanisms that link atrial fibrillation to dementia,” said Bunch. “We are initiating a series of new studies that are aimed to understand what treatments may reduce the risk of developing dementia in atrial fibrillation patients.”

Other members of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute team include Kevin Graves, BS; Heidi T. May, Ph.D.; Tami L. Bair, RN; Victoria Jacobs, Ph.D.; Brian G. Crandall, M.D.; Michael Cutler, M.D.; Jeffrey S. Osborn, M.D.; Charles Mallender, M.D.; John D. Day, M.D.; and Peter Weiss, M.D.

The Intermountain Medical Center is the flagship facility for the Intermountain Healthcare system, which is based in Salt Lake City.

For more information: www.scientificsessions.org

Related Content

Corindus Announces First Patient Enrolled in PRECISION GRX Registry
News | Robotic Systems| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 — Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc.
Two-Year ILLUMENATE Trial Data Demonstrate Efficacy of Stellarex Drug-Coated Balloon
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| September 18, 2017
Philips announced the two-year results from the ILLUMENATE European randomized clinical trial (EU RCT) demonstrating...
Sentinel Cerebral Protection System Significantly Reduces Stroke and Mortality in TAVR
News | Embolic Protection Devices| September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 – Claret Medical announced publication of a new study in the...
Fysicon Receives FDA Approval for QMAPP Hemodynamic Monitoring System
Technology | Hemodynamic Monitoring Systems| September 18, 2017
Fysicon announced that it has been granted 510(k) clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its...
Marijuana Associated With Three-Fold Risk of Death From Hypertension
News | Hypertension| September 14, 2017
Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to research published recently...
Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Peter Schneider, M.D. presents late breaking clinical trial results at VIVA 17 in Las Vegas. Panelists (l to r) Krishna Rocha-Singh, M.D., Sean Lyden, M.D., John Kaufman, M.D., Donna Buckley, M.D.

Feature | Cath Lab| September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017 — Here are quick summaries for all the key late-breaking vascular and endovascular clinical trials
Medtronic Announces Japanese Regulatory Approval for In.Pact Admiral Drug-Coated Balloon
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| September 13, 2017
Medtronic plc announced that the In.Pact Admiral Drug-Coated Balloon (DCB) received approval from the Japanese Ministry...
PQ Bypass Reports Positive Results for Detour System in Patients With Long Femoropopliteal Blockages
News | Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)| September 13, 2017
A subset analysis of the DETOUR I clinical trial showed promising safety and effectiveness results of PQ Bypass’ Detour...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 12, 2017
Contracting shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack,...
Vascular screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and hypertension during the VIVA Study in Denmark

Vascular screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and hypertension during the VIVA Study. Photo credit: Lisbeth Hasager Justesen, Viborg Hospital.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 12, 2017
September 12, 2017 — A new screening program for vascular disease saves one life for every 169 men assessed, accordin
Overlay Init