(HealthDay News) — For older adults with chronic heart failure, memory impairment is common, with impairment correlating positively with heart failure severity, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Olivier Hanon, MD, PhD, from the Hôpital Broca in Paris, and colleagues examined the prevalence of memory impairment in ambulatory patients (aged ≥70 years) with chronic heart failure. From January to November 2009, 291 cardiologists recruited 912 ambulatory patients with heart failure (mean age, 79.2 years). The delayed-recall Memory Impairment Screen (MIS-D) was used to evaluate memory, with memory impairment and severe memory impairment defined as a MIS-D score of ≤6 and ≤4, respectively.

The researchers identified memory impairment and severe memory impairment in 45.6 and 23.4% of participants, respectively, while before MIS evaluation, cardiologists suspected memory impairment in 12%. Older age, lower education level, depression, history of stroke, renal failure, and less regular physical activity were determinants of memory disorders. There was a positive correlation between the severity of memory impairment and the severity of heart failure (New York Heart Association classification, P<0.00001).

“This study found that memory impairment was frequent in patients with chronic heart failure and often underrecognized by cardiologists,” the authors write. “Memory impairment can be detected easily using a simple test, which is important because memory deficits may have implications for drugs and lifestyle compliance.”

Several authors disclosed receiving honoraria from Menarini as consultants related to the study.

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