Associations between atrial cardiopathy and cerebral amyloid: The aric-pet study

Michelle C. Johansen, Thomas H. Mosley, David S. Knopman, Dean F. Wong, Chiadi Ndumele, Amil M. Shah, Scott D. Solomon, Rebecca F. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a risk factor for cognitive decline, possibly from silent brain infarction. Left atrial changes in structure or function (atrial cardiopathy) can lead to AF but may impact cognition independently. It is unknown if AF or atrial cardiopathy also acts on Alzheimer disease–specific mechanisms, such as deposition of β-amyloid. METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 316 dementia-free participants from the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study underwent florbetapir positron emission tomography, electrocardiography, and 2-dimensional echocardiography. Atrial cardiopathy was defined as ≥1: (1) left atrial volume index >34 mL/m2; (2) P-wave terminal force >5000 µV×ms; and (3) serum NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide) >250 pg/mL. Cross-sectional associations between global cortical β-amyloid (>1.2 standardized uptake value ratio) and adjudicated history of AF and atrial cardiopathy, each, were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression. Participants (mean age, 76 years) were 56% women and 42% Black individuals. Odds of elevated florbetapir standardized uptake value ratio were significantly increased among those with atrial cardiopathy (odds ratio, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.02–3.22) and doubled for those with enlarged left atrial volume index after adjustment for demographics/risk factors (95% CI, 1.04–4.61). There was no association between P-wave terminal force or NT-proBNP and elevated florbetapir standardized uptake value ratio, nor between AF and elevated standardized uptake value ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Among healthy, nondemented community-dwelling older individuals, we report an association between atrial cardiopathy, left atrial volume index, and elevated brain amyloid, by positron emission tomography, without a similar association in individuals with AF. Potential limitations include reverse causation and survival bias. Ongoing work will help determine if changes in cardiac structure and function precede or occur simultaneously with amyloid deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere018399
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020


  • Atrial cardiopathy
  • Cognitive decline
  • Cohort study
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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