HealthDay News — Catheter ablation is associated with reduced dementia risk compared with medical management in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online Oct. 6 in the European Heart Journal.

Daehoon Kim, M.D., from the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues examined 9,119 patients with AF undergoing ablation and 17,978 managed with medical therapy to examine the association of ablation with dementia occurrence.

The researchers found that ablated patients showed a lower incidence and risk for overall dementia compared with patients managed with medical therapy during a median follow-up of 52 months (5.6 and 8.1 per 1,000 person-years, respectively; hazard ratio, 0.73). After censoring for incident stroke, the association between ablation and dementia risk was consistently observed (hazard ratio, 0.76) and was more pronounced in cases of ablation success, while no significant differences were seen in cases of ablation failure. Lower risks for dementia subtypes, including Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, were seen in association with ablation.

“We found that successful ablation was significantly associated with a 44 percent reduced risk of dementia compared with medical therapy but if ablation failed, we did not see a significant reduction in risk,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This suggests that it is maintaining the regular rhythm of the heart with successful ablation, and not ablation itself, that may contribute to a lower risk of dementia in patients with atrial fibrillation.”


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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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