Cognitive Decline Over Time in Patients With Systolic Heart Failure: Insights From WARCEF

WARCEF Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study sought to characterize cognitive decline (CD) over time and its predictors in patients with systolic heart failure (HF). Background: Despite the high prevalence of CD and its impact on mortality, predictors of CD in HF have not been established. Methods: This study investigated CD in the WARCEF (Warfarin versus Aspirin in Reduced Ejection Fraction) trial, which performed yearly Mini-Mental State Examinations (MMSE) (higher scores indicate better cognitive function; e.g., normal score: 24 or higher). A longitudinal time-varying analysis was performed among pertinent covariates, including baseline MMSE and MMSE scores during follow-up, analyzed both as a continuous variable and a 2-point decrease. To account for a loss to follow-up, data at the baseline and at the 12-month visit were analyzed separately (sensitivity analysis). Results: A total of 1,846 patients were included. In linear regression, MMSE decrease was independently associated with higher baseline MMSE score (p < 0.0001), older age (p < 0.0001), nonwhite race/ethnicity (p < 0.0001), and lower education (p < 0.0001). In logistic regression, CD was independently associated with higher baseline MMSE scores (odds ratio [OR]: 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07 to 1.20]; p < 0.001), older age (OR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.24 to 1.50; p < 0.001), nonwhite race/ethnicity (OR: 2.32; 95% CI: 1.72 to 3.13 for black; OR: 1.94; 95% CI: 1.40 to 2.69 for Hispanic vs. white; p < 0.001), lower education (p < 0.001), and New York Heart Association functional class II or higher (p = 0.03). Warfarin and other medications were not associated with CD. Similar trends were seen in the sensitivity analysis (n = 1,439). Conclusions: CD in HF is predicted by baseline cognitive status, demographic variables, and NYHA functional class. The possibility of intervening on some of its predictors suggests the need for the frequent assessment of cognitive function in patients with HF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1053
Number of pages12
JournalJACC: Heart Failure
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Mini-Mental State Examination
  • cognitive function
  • comorbidities
  • dementia
  • longitudinal analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive Decline Over Time in Patients With Systolic Heart Failure: Insights From WARCEF'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this