Atrial Fibrillation

Anticoagulants Reduce Dementia Risk in AF Patients

Oral anticoagulant therapy was associated with a lower risk of dementia among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to the findings of a recent study.

The retrospective registry study included 444,106 patients who had a hospital diagnosis of AF and no previous diagnosis of dementia in Sweden between 2006 and 2014. Researchers assessed the relationship between anticoagulant treatment and dementia using propensity score matching, falsification endpoints, intention-to-treat analyses, as well as on-treatment principles.
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At baseline, patients receiving anticoagulant treatment had a 29% lower risk of dementia compared with those who did not receive treatment in the intention to treat analysis, and 48% lower dementia risk in the on-treatment analysis.

Additionally, the researchers did not find any differences in direct comparisons between warfarin and new oral anticoagulants (hazard ratio 0.97).

“The risk of dementia is higher without oral anticoagulant treatment in patients with AF,” the researchers concluded. “This suggests that early initiation of anticoagulant treatment in patients with AF could be of value in order to preserve cognitive function.”

—Melissa Weiss


Friberg L, Rosenqvist M. Less dementia with oral anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation [published online October 24, 2017]. Eur Heart J.