Risk of Dementia Associated With Atrial Cardiopathy: The ARIC Study

Michelle C. Johansen, Wendy Wang, Michael Zhang, David S. Knopman, Chiadi Ndumele, Thomas H. Mosley, Elizabeth Selvin, Amil M. Shah, Scott D. Solomon, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Lin Yee Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The contribution of atrial cardiopathy to dementia risk is uncharacterized. We aimed to evaluate the association of atrial cardiopathy with incident dementia and potential mediation by atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a prospective cohort analysis of participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study attending visit 5 (2011– 2013). We used Cox regression to determine the association between atrial car-diopathy and risk of dementia. Structural equation modeling methods were used to determine potential mediation by AF and/or stroke. Atrial cardiopathy was defined if ≥1 of the following at visit 5: P-wave terminal force >5000 mV·ms in ECG lead V1, NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro– brain natriuretic peptide) >250 pg/mL or left atrial volume index ≥34 mL/m2 by transthoracic echocardiography. We repeated our analysis necessitating ≥2 markers to define atrial cardiopathy. The prevalence of atrial cardiopathy was 34% in the 5078 participants (mean age 75 years, 59% female, 21% Black adults), with 763 participants de-veloping dementia. Atrial cardiopathy was significantly associated with dementia (adjusted HR, 1.35 [95% CI, 1.16–1.58]), with strengthening of the effect estimate when necessitating ≥2 biomarkers (adjusted HR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.25–1.89]). There was an increased risk of dementia among those with atrial cardiopathy when excluding those with AF (adjusted HR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.12–1.55]) or stroke (adjusted HR, 1.28 [95% CI, 1.09–1.52]). The proportion of the effect mediated by AF was 4% (P=0.005), and 9% was mediated by stroke (P=0.048). CONCLUSIONS: Atrial cardiopathy was significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia, with only a small percent mediation of the effect by AF or stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere025646
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 16 2022


  • atrial cardiopathy
  • dementia
  • left atrium
  • population study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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