Patients with irregular heartbeat 44pct more likely to develop Alzheimer’s

May 16th, 2009 - 3:54 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 16 (ANI): A new study from Intermountain Medical Centre in Salt Lake City has found that people with atrial fibrillation, a fairly common heart rhythm disorder, are 44 percent more likely to develop dementia.

The study involving more than 37,000 patients has showed a strong relationship between atrial fibrillation and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team also revealed that younger patients with atrial fibrillation were at higher risk of developing all types of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

And atrial fibrillation patients under age 70 were 130 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

The study showed that patients who have both atrial fibrillation and dementia were 61 percent more likely to die during the study period than dementia patients without the rhythm problem.

In addition, younger atrial fibrillation patients with dementia may be at higher risk of death than older AF patients with dementia.

“Previous studies have shown that patients with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk for some types of dementia, including vascular dementia. But to our knowledge, this is the first large-population study to clearly show that having atrial fibrillation puts patients at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead researcher and cardiologist T. Jared Bunch.

Currently, the known risk factors for Alzheimer’s are age, family history and genetics, though injury may also be linked with the disease.

“The study shows a connection between atrial fibrillation and all types of dementia. The Alzheimer’s findings - particularly the risk of death for younger patients - break new ground,” said Bunch.

“Now that we’ve established this link, our focus will be to see if early treatment of atrial fibrillation can prevent dementia or the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said cardiologist Dr John Day, director of heart rhythm services at Intermountain Medical Center and a co-author of the study. (ANI)

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