Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common tachyarrhythmia and is becoming increasingly prevalent, while dementia is a neurological condition manifested as loss of memory and cognitive ability. Both these conditions share several common risk factors. It is becoming increasingly evident that AF increases the risk of dementia. There are several pathophysiological mechanisms by which AF can cause dementia. AF increases the stroke risk and strokes are strongly associated with dementia. Besides stroke, altered cerebral blood flow in AF and cerebral microbleeds from anticoagulation may enhance the risk of dementia. Maintaining sinus rhythm may therefore decrease this risk. Catheter ablation is emerging as an effective alternative to maintain patients in sinus rhythm. This procedure has also shown promise in decreasing the risk of all types of dementia. Besides maintaining sinus rhythm and oral anticoagulation, aggressive risk factor modification may reduce the likelihood or delay the onset of dementia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine