Cognitive impairment predicts functional capacity in dementia-free patients with cardiovascular disease

Skye N. McLennan, Jane L. Mathias, Lucy C. Brennan, Mary E. Russell, Simon Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Research Objective: A high proportion of elderly people with cardiovascular diseases and risk factors have mild forms of cognitive impairment, the functional impact of which is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine whether subtle cognitive impairment contributes to limitations in instrumental activities of daily living in this group and whether this association is independent of physical comorbidity and other potentially confounding factors. Subject and Methods: Two hundred and nineteen nondemented patients were recruited from cardiovascular and diabetic hospital outpatient clinics. Functional dependence was assessed using the self-report version of the instrumental activities of daily living scale. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Demographic and clinical information was collected via interview and a review of hospital records. Standard logistic regression was performed to identify factors independently associated with functional status. Results: Five variables (sex, cardiovascular disease burden, non-cardiovascular disease burden, cognitive status, and age) were independently associated with an increased likelihood of requiring assistance with 1 or more everyday activities. The likelihood of needing assistance increased 2.05 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.59-2.79) for each additional cardiovascular diagnosis present and 1.12 times (95% CI, 1.01-1.27) for every point lower on MoCA. Thus, in comparison to a person with a perfect MoCA score, a person who scored in the cognitively impaired range (<23) was 7.7 (CI, 7.07-8.89) times more likely to report that he/she required assistance with an everyday activity. CONCLUSION: Cognitive impairments appear to reduce the ability to independently carry out routine daily tasks in patients with cardiovascular diseases and risk factors. Cognition should therefore be considered along with physical symptoms when assessing and responding to the support needs of this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-397
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


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