HealthDay News — Congenital heart disease is associated with increased risk for dementia in adults, according to a study published in Circulation.

Carina N. Bagge, from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues compared the risk of dementia in adults with congenital heart disease vs that of the general population. Medical registries and medical record review was used to identify adults with congenital heart disease diagnosed between 1963 and 2012 in Danish hospitals. Individuals with congenital heart disease were followed until hospital diagnosis of dementia, death, emigration, or December 31, 2012. Ten members of the general population were identified for each congenital heart disease individual, matched by sex and birth year.

The researchers found that for the 10,632 adults with congenital heart disease, the cumulative incidence of dementia was 4% by age 80 years. Comparing adults with congenital heart disease with the general population cohort, the overall hazard ratio was 1.6 (95% CI, 1.3-2.0). In individuals with congenital heart disease without extracardiac defects, the hazard ratio was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.1-1.8). The hazard ratio was 1.5 (95% CI, 1.1-2.0) for adults with mild-to-moderate congenital heart disease, and 2.0 (95% CI, 1.2-3.3) for severe congenital heart disease, including univentricular hearts. For early-onset dementia (<65 years of age) and late-onset dementia, the hazard ratios were 2.6 (95% CI, 1.8-3.8) and 1.3 (95% CI, 1.0-1.8), respectively.

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“Congenital heart disease was associated with an increased risk of dementia compared to the general population, in particular for early-onset dementia,” the authors wrote. “Further understanding of dementia risk in the congenital heart disease population is a potential target for future investigation.”

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Bagge CN, Henderson VW, Laursen HB, et al. Risk of dementia in adults with congenital heart disease: population-based cohort study [published online February 12, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.029686