Cognitive Change After Cardiac Surgery Versus Cardiac Catheterization: A Population-Based Study.

TitleCognitive Change After Cardiac Surgery Versus Cardiac Catheterization: A Population-Based Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWhitlock, EL, L Diaz-Ramirez, G, Smith, AK, W Boscardin, J, Avidan, MS, M. Glymour, M
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgergy
ISSN Number1552-6259
KeywordsCardiac surgery, Cardiovascular disease, Cognition & Reasoning, Memory

BACKGROUND: Despite concern that cardiac surgery may adversely affect cognition, little evidence is available from population-based studies using presurgery data. With the use of the Health and Retirement Study, we compared memory change after participant-reported cardiac catheterization or cardiac surgery.

METHODS: Participants were community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older who self-reported cardiac catheterization or "heart surgery" at any biennial Health and Retirement Study interview between 2000 and 2014. Participants may have undergone the index procedure any time in the preceding 2 years. We modeled preprocedure to postprocedure change in composite memory score, derived from objective memory testing, using linear mixed effects models. We modeled postprocedure subjective memory decline with logistic regression. To quantify clinical relevance, we used the predicted memory change to estimate impact on ability to manage medications and finances independently.

RESULTS: Of 3,105 participants, 1,921 (62%) underwent catheterization and 1,184 (38%) underwent operation. In adjusted analyses, surgery participants had little difference in preprocedure to postprocedure memory change compared with participants undergoing cardiac catheterization (-0.021 memory units; 95% confidence interval: -0.046 to 0.005 memory units, p = 0.12). If the relationship were causal, the point estimate for memory decline would confer an absolute 0.26% or 0.19% decrease in ability to manage finances or medications, respectively, corresponding to 4.6 additional months of cognitive aging. Cardiac surgery was not associated with subjective memory decline (adjusted odds ratio 0.93, 95% confidence interval: 0.74 to 1.18).

CONCLUSIONS: In this large, population-based cohort, memory declines after heart surgery and cardiac catheterization were similar. These findings suggest intermediate-term population-level adverse cognitive effects of cardiac surgery, if any, are likely subtle.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalAnn. Thorac. Surg.
Citation Key9916
PubMed ID30578068
PubMed Central IDPMC6707506
Grant ListP30 AG044281 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R03 AG059822 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM008440 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States