We have been saying for a long time that our patients are feeding back to us that their short term memory has been affected since being diagnosed with Heart Failure. We are pleased to see that research has proved their assumptions to be correct.
Heart failure is associated with a decline in mental processes and a loss of grey matter in the brain, new research has found. Scientists at the University of Western Australia say the changes could make it harder for people with heart failure to remember their medication and follow the instructions correctly.
The researchers performed cognitive tests and MRI scans on 35 patients with heart failure, 56 patients with ischaemic heart disease and 64 healthy volunteers. They found that people with heart failure tended to have worse immediate and long-term memory and reaction speeds than healthy people.Heart failure patients also showed changes in areas of the brain that play a role in cognitive and emotional processing.
Professor Osvaldo Almeida said: ‘What we found in this study is that both ischaemic heart disease and heart failure are associated with a loss of cells in certain brain regions that are important for the modulation of emotions and mental activity. ‘Such a loss is more pronounced in people with heart failure, but can also be seen in people with ischaemic heart disease without heart failure.’
The findings are published in the European Heart Journal and could have important implications, as figures from the British Heart Foundation suggest there are more than 27,000 new cases of heart failure each year in the UK.