Accumulating evidence suggests an association between coronary heart disease and risk for cognitive impairment or dementia, but no study has systematically reviewed this association. Therefore, we summarized the available evidence on the association between coronary heart disease and risk for cognitive impairment or dementia.
Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and CINAHL were searched for all publications until 8 th January 2016. Articles were included if they fulfilled the inclusion criteria: (1) myocardial infarction, angina pectoris or coronary heart disease (combination of both) as predictor variable; (2) cognition, cognitive impairment or dementia as outcome; (3) population-based study; (4) prospective (≥1 year follow-up), cross-sectional or case-control study design; (5) ≥100 participants; and (6) aged ≥45 years. Reference lists of publications and secondary literature were hand-searched for possible missing articles. Two reviewers independently screened all abstracts and extracted information from potential relevant full-text articles using a standardized data collection form. Study quality was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. We pooled estimates from the most fully adjusted model using random-effects meta-analysis.
We identified 6,132 abstracts, of which 24 studies were included. A meta-analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies showed that coronary heart disease was associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia (OR = 1.45, 95%CI = 1.21–1.74, p<0.001). Between-study heterogeneity was low ( I 2 = 25.7%, 95%CI = 0–64, p = 0.207). Similar significant associations were found in separate meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies for the individual predictors (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris). In contrast, meta-analyses of cross-sectional and case-control studies were inconclusive.
This meta-analysis suggests that coronary heart disease is prospectively associated with increased odds of developing cognitive impairment or dementia. Given the projected worldwide increase in the number of people affected by coronary heart disease and dementia, insight into causal mechanisms or common pathways underlying the heart-brain connection is needed.