BACKGROUND: Advanced heart failure is linked with structural and functional alterations in the brain. It is unclear whether a graded decrease in cardiac function puts older subjects at risk for brain aging. We investigated the association between cardiac hemodynamics and features of brain aging in community-dwelling older subjects.
METHODS AND RESULTS: With data from a sub-study (n=931 subjects, mean age 75.9 years, 47.7% male) of the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)-Reykjavik Study, we investigated the association of MRI measures of cardiac hemodynamics, including left ventricular stroke volume (LVSV) and cardiac output (CO) to brain characteristics. In multivariable analyses, each 10 mL lower LVSV was associated with 4.4 mL (95% CI 1.9 to 6.9) lower total parenchymal brain volume (TBV) and 3.7 mL (95% CI 1.8 to 5.7) lower gray matter volume (GMV). Likewise, each unit (L/min) lower CO was associated with 3.9 mL (95% CI 0.4 to 7.4) lower TBV and 3.9 mL (95% CI 0.4 to 7.4) lower GMV. Lower LVSV was associated with worse performance in processing speed (P=0.043) and executive function (P<0.001). Lower CO was associated with worse performance in processing speed (P=0.015) and executive function (P=0.003). Each 10 mL lower LVSV and each unit lower CO associated with a higher risk of mild cognitive impairment or dementia (odds ratio: 1.24, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.57 and odds ratio: 1.40, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.00, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: A graded decrease in cardiac functioning is associated with features of brain aging. Older persons with cardiac or cognitive signs and symptoms may have both cardiac and cerebral diseases and should be evaluated accordingly.
- brain aging
- cardiac output
- cognitive impairment
- stroke volume