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Atrial Fibrillation and Cognitive Function: JACC Review Topic of the Week

Journal of the American College of Cardiology | 9 Feb 2019

HC Diener, RG Hart, PJ Koudstaal, DA Lane and GYH Lip
Abstract
Numerous vascular risk factors and vascular diseases contribute to cognitive impairment and dementia. Many studies and registries show an association of atrial fibrillation (AF) with cognitive impairment, cognitive decline, and dementia. This is true for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The assumed multifactorial mechanisms include ischemic stroke, both apparent and silent, cerebral microinfarcts, cerebral hemorrhage, and reduced cerebral blood flow. A number of retrospective observational and prospective studies support that anticoagulation in patients with AF may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. This holds for both vitamin K antagonists (e.g., warfarin) and direct oral anticoagulants. However, it still remains unproven if anticoagulation reduces cognitive decline and dementia in AF patients based on randomized trials.
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