Atrial fibrillation and risk of dementia in non-demented elderly subjects with and without mild cognitive impairment (MCI).Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2007; 44 Suppl 1:155-65AG
MCI is regarded as a precursor of dementia, but not all patients with MCI actually develop dementia. As Alzheimer and vascular dementia (AD and VD, respectively) are thought to share many common etiopathogenetic mechanisms, we investigated whether the vascular risk factor atrial fibrillation affect the risk of conversion to dementia for different MCI subtypes diagnosed according to international criteria. One-hundred-eighty elderly outpatients with MCI and 431 elderly outpatients with a normal cognition were followed-up for a mean of 3 and 4 years, respectively. The risk of conversion to dementia associated with atrial fibrillation was studied in both samples using a Cox proportional-hazards model adjusted for sociodemographic and medical variables. Overall conversion rate to dementia was 10.5 (8.0-13.8) per 100 person-years in the MCI group and 2.2 (1.5-3.1) per 100 person-years in the normal cognition group. Atrial fibrillation was significantly associated with conversion to dementia (hazard ratio=HR=4.63, 95% confidence interval=Cl=1.72-12.46) in the MCI group, but not in the cognitively normal group (HR=1.10, 95% Cl=0.40-3.03). Current diagnostic criteria for MCI subtypes define heterogeneous populations, but atrial fibrillation can be useful in identifying people with increased risk of conversion to dementia.