In continuation of Warfarin
A new study of more than 10,000 patients treated long term with the blood thinner, Warfarin, reveals higher rates of dementia for patients with atrial fibrillation versus non-AF patients.
The study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City found that atrial fibrillation patients treated long term with Warfarin had higher rates of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia compared to anticoagulated non-atrial fibrillation patients.
Results of the research were presented today at Heart Rhythm 2016, the Heart Rhythm Society's 37th Annual Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.
Atrial fibrillation is is the most common type of arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Incidence rates of atrial fibrillation are growing dramatically as the population ages.
Dementia is a neurological disorder that impairs memory and other cognitive abilities, and it is now listed among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in developed countries.
Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of dementia because it exposes patients to both large and small clots that can affect brain function. Blood thinners used to prevent all forms of clots and strokes can increase the risk of both large and small brain bleeds that can also negatively impact brain function over time.
The study was conducted through the Intermountain Healthcare Clinical Pharmacist Anticoagulation Service, which is part of the Intermountain Healthcare system based in Salt Lake City.
Researchers enrolled a total of 10,537 patients with no history of dementia prior to the study. They were treated with a blood thinner for atrial fibrillation and non-AF conditions like valvular heart disease and thromboembolism on a long-term basis.
Other variables in the patients studied included age, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, renal failure, smoking history, prior myocardial infarction or cerebral vascular accident, and heart failure. Participants were aged 18 years and older.
Long-term Warfarin use may increase dementia rates in AF patients: A new study of more than 10,000 patients treated long term with the blood thinner, Warfarin, reveals higher rates of dementia for patients with atrial fibrillation versus non-AF patients