Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia: Results from the Sao Paulo Ageing & Health Study

Kawabata-Yoshihara LA, Scazufca M, Santos ID, Whitaker A, Kawabata VS, Bensenor IM, Menezes PR, Lotufo PA. Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia: Results from the Sao Paulo Ageing & Health Study. Arq Bras Cardiol 2012. 99(6):1108-1114. DOI: 10.1590/S0066-782X2012005000106

A b s t r a c t

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a controversial risk factor for dementia. 
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the association between AF and dementia in the "Sao Paulo Ageing & Health" (SPAH) study participants. 
Methods: SPAH is a cross-sectional, population-based study of elderly people living in a deprived neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dementia diagnosis was performed according to the 10/66 study group protocol based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria. Diagnosis of AF was made using a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) recording, which was assessed by two cardiologists. Data on demographics and cardiovascular risk factors were also obtained. 
Results: Dementia was diagnosed in 66 (4.3%) and AF in 36 (2.4%) of 1,524 participants with a valid ECG. The crude odds ratio (OR) for dementia in participants with AF was 2.8 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-8.1; p=0.06) compared with individuals without AF. When analyzing data according to sex, a positive relationship was found in women (OR 4.2; 95% CI: 1.24-15.1; p=0.03). After age-adjustment, however, this association was no longer significant (OR 2.2; 95% CI: 0.6-8.9; p=0.26). 
Conclusion: There was no independent association between AF and dementia in this sample. The prevalence of AF may be low in this population owing to premature cardiovascular death.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation, Cardiovascular disease, Dementia.