Cognitive evolution in hypertensive patients: a six-year follow-up
Augusto Vicario1,2,3, Mildren A del Sueldo2,3, Judith M Zilberman2,3, Gustavo H Cerezo2,3
1Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital Español de Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2Argentine Federation of Cardiology, (AFC), Buenos Aires, Argentina; 3Research Group, Human Health Commission, CERTUS Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Background: Several studies have examined the links between hypertension, vascular damage, and cognitive impairment. The functions most commonly involved seem to be those associated with memory and executive function.
Aims: 1) to report the cognitive evolution in a cohort of hypertensive patients, 2) to identify the affected domains, and 3) to correlate the results obtained with blood pressure measurements.
Materials and Methods: Observational 6-year follow-up cohort study including both males and females aged ≥65 and ≤80 years, and hypertensive patients under treatment. Patients with a history of any of the following conditions were excluded: stroke, transient ischemic attack, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, cardiac surgery, dementia, or depression. Four neurocognitive evaluations were performed (at baseline and every 2 years). The tests used evaluated memory and executive function domain. Blood pressure was measured on every cognitive evaluation.
Results: Sixty patients were followed for 76.4 ± 2.8 months. The average age at baseline was 72.5 ± 4.2 and 77.9 ± 4.6 at 6 years (65% were women). Two patients were lost to follow up (3.3%) and 8 patients died (13.3%).The density incidence for dementia was 0.6% patients per year (pt/y) (n = 3) and for depression was 1.6% pt/y (n = 12). No changes were observed in either memory impairment or the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) results (p = ns) during follow-up. A progressive impairment of the executive function was shown regardless of the blood pressure measurements.
Conclusion: 1) the incidence of dementia doubled to general population, 2) the initial memory impairment did not change during the evaluation period, 3) cognitive impairment worsened in the areas related to executive function (prefrontal cortex) regardless of the adequacy of anti-hypertensive treatment and blood pressure values.
Keywords: hypertension, cognitive impairment, frontal lobe, dementia, executive function
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