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Atrial Fibrillation & Dementia

Because of an aging population, dementia is an increasing problem as it primarily affects elderly patients. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in the elderly, accounting for 60% to 80% of cases, followed by vascular dementia (VD), which accounts for 10% to 20%. Dementia in general tends to increase with increasing age, diabetes, hypertension, smoking history, and systemic inflammation.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice, and similar to dementia, its prevalence increases with age. It is a significant risk factor for thromboembolic stroke, and affects up to 9% of the population by age 80. Similar to the association with dementia, the risk of AF increases with age, diabetes, hypertension, and increases in systemic inflammation.
Recent data have emerged to show an association between Atrial Fibrillation and Alzheimer’s Disease progression.Furthermore, AF has been independently linked to memory impairment, cognitive decline, and general dementia in patients without preexisting disease.

Incidenza di Demenza in base alla presenza di Fibrillazione Atriale.
Marcato aumento della Demenza in generale e in tutte le sue forme nei pazienti con Fibrillazione Atriale.

Reference: Heart Rhythm 2010