Curr Opin Cardiol. 2023 Sep 8. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000001093. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cognitive dysfunction is a complex condition that is becoming increasingly more prevalent. There has been growing acknowledgement that individuals with atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk of cognitive dysfunction beyond the association of age with both disorders. The purpose of this review is to explore the potential underlying mechanisms connecting atrial fibrillation and cognitive dysfunction and to examine the existing evidence for potential treatment options.
RECENT FINDINGS: Many mechanisms have been proposed for the association between cognitive dysfunction and atrial fibrillation. These include cerebral infarction (both micro and macro embolic events), cerebral microbleeds including those secondary to therapeutic anticoagulation, an increased inflammatory state, cerebral hypoperfusion, and a genetic predisposition to both diseases. Treatments designed to target each of these mechanisms have led to mixed results and there are no specific interventions that have definitively led to a reduction in the incidence of cognitive dysfunction.
SUMMARY: The relationship between cognitive dysfunction and atrial fibrillation remains poorly understood. Standard of care currently focuses on reducing risk factors, managing stroke risk, and maintaining sinus rhythm in appropriately selected patients. Further work needs to be conducted in this area to limit the progression of cognitive dysfunction in patients with atrial fibrillation.