Heart Failure Linked to Cognitive Impairment

Memory and other problems may affect care of heart failure patients, suggests study in Journal of Cardiac Failure

Philadelphia, 05 February 2009 – Nearly half of patients with heart failure (HF) have problems with memory and other aspects of cognitive functioning, reports a new study published by Elsevier, in the February issue of Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Memory problems and other cognitive deficits may be an important factor to consider in planning medical care for patients with HF, according to the new study, led by Mary Jane Sauvé, D.N.Sc., R.N., of the University of California, Davis.

The researchers administered tests of cognitive (intellectual) function to 50 patients with HF and 50 people without HF, matched for age and estimated intelligence. Most of the patients had mild to moderate HF. Overall, patients with HF scored lower than controls on 14 of 19 cognitive tests. Forty-six percent of the HF patients were rated as having mild to severe cognitive impairment, compared to a 16 percent rate of mild impairment in controls. Memory problems, especially short-term memory, were the most common type of cognitive deficit.

With adjustment for other factors, the risk of cognitive impairment was more than four times higher in the HF group. The rate, types, and severity of cognitive impairment in this group of patients living with HF were similar to those seen in patients with end-stage HF awaiting heart transplantation.

Changes in cognitive function have long been recognized in patients with heart disease. Although past reports have noticed an increased rate of cognitive impairment among people with HF, this has been assumed to reflect the age-related risk of cognitive decline.

These findings may have important implications for the care of patients with HF, Dr. Sauvé and colleagues believe. For example, "Care instructions and medication or dietary changes need to be written and given verbally because of patient difficulties with information requiring attention, learning, and memory functions."

"This is a very important article dealing with a neglected area of research," commented Barry M. Massie, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cardiac Failure. "The authors have performed a well-designed study assessing heart failure patients for cognitive impairment, which was significant in a substantial proportion of patients. Furthermore, it was closely related to the severity of symptoms or left ventricular dysfunction. Clinicians should be aware of this problem, as it has the potential to interfere with optimal patient management."

# # #

About the Journal of Cardiac Failure
The Journal of Cardiac Failure publishes original, peer-reviewed communications of scientific excellence and review articles on clinical research, basic human studies, animal studies, and bench research with potential clinical applications to heart failure—pathogenesis, etiology, epidemiology, pathophysiological mechanisms, assessment, prevention, and treatment. The Journal of Cardiac Failure is the official journal of the Heart Failure Society of America and the Japanese Heart Failure Society. It has an Impact Factor of 3.067 (the highest among journals with a heart failure focus and 19th among all cardiovascular journals) and an Immediacy Factor of 1.306, the 7th among all cardiovascular journals.

About the Heart Failure Society of America
The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. Today HFSA has over 1,700 members and provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research, and patient care. The HFSA also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). Additional information on the HFSA can be found at www.hfsa.org.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media Contact:
Maureen Hunter
Elsevier
+1 215 239 3671
m.hunter@elsevier.com