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cognition, executive dysfunction, heart failure, memory, Nigerians



  1. Adebayo, Philip Babatunde FWACP
  2. Akintunde, Adeseye Abiodun FMCP, FWACP
  3. Audu, Morenike Bosede MBBS
  4. Ayodele, Olugbenga Edward FWACP
  5. Akinyemi, Rufus Olushola PhD, FMCP
  6. Opadijo, Oladimeji George FWACP


Background: Heart failure (HF) in Africans is peculiar because subjects are younger than whites and have lower socioeconomic and educational level in addition to the high prevalence of hypertension-related etiology and increased mortality. Whereas cognitive dysfunction have been demonstrated among whites with HF, the prevalence and pattern of cognitive dysfunction among sub-Saharan African patients with HF have not been evaluated against this background.


Objectives: The aim of this study is to determine the 1-year prevalence and the factors contributing to cognitive dysfunction in a cohort of Nigerian patients with HF.


Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional case-control study, cognitive performance was evaluated in 111 consecutive individuals (60 HF patients and 51 controls matched for age, gender, and level of education) using the Community Screening Interview for Dementia, Word List Learning Delayed Recall, Boston Naming Test, and Modified Token Test. Other clinical and disease-specific variables were collated and correlated with cognitive performance.


Results: The mean total Community Screening Interview for Dementia, Word List Learning Delayed Recall, Boston Naming Test, and Modified Token Test scores were significantly lower among HF patients (P = < .001). The prevalence of global cognitive dysfunction was 90.0% in HF and 5.9% among controls (odds ratio, 15.3; 95% confidence interval, 5.08-46.01). Elevated systolic blood pressure, increased comorbidity index, and wide pulse pressure were significantly associated with poorer performance on at least 1 neuropsychological test. Using a multivariate linear regression analysis, pulse pressure retained its significance (P = .029; 95% confidence interval, -0.117 to -0.007) as the most important predictor of cognitive dysfunction in the cohort of HF patients.


Conclusion: Cognitive dysfunction is prevalent among this sample of Nigerians with HF. Regular cognitive screening is therefore advocated among this high-risk group. Controlling comorbidities as well as blood pressure may improve cognitive performance among patients with HF.