It is well established that patients with heart failure are at a greater risk for dementia. Recent evidence suggests that the heart-brain link goes beyond advanced heart failure, and even suboptimal cardiac function is associated with brain structural and functional changes leading to cognitive impairment. In this review, we address several pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this association, including hemodynamic stress and cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypercoagulation. The close link between cardiac function and brain health has numerous clinical and public health implications. Cardiac dysfunction and cognitive impairment are both common in older adults. However, in our current clinical practice, these medical conditions are generally evaluated and treated in isolation. Emerging evidence on the significance of the heart-brain link calls for comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment in patients with cognitive impairment and a neurocognitive workup in patients with impaired cardiac function. A multidisciplinary approach by cardiologists, neurologists, and geriatricians would benefit the diagnostic process and disease management and ultimately improve the quality of life for patients with cardiac and cognitive dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine