Atrial fibrillation and Alzheimer’s disease: A conundrum

Stefano Benenati, Claudia Canale, Vincenzo De Marzo, Roberta Della Bona, Gian Marco Rosa, Italo Porto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


During ageing, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and of cardiovascular disease CVD) increases. Our aim is to investigate the relationship between AD and CVD and its risk factors, with a view to explaining the underlying mechanisms of this association. This review is based on the material obtained via MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase and Clinical Trials databases, from January 1980 until May 2019. The search term used was “Alzheimer's disease”, combined with “cardiovascular disease”, “hypertension”, “dyslipidaemia”, “diabetes mellitus”, “atrial fibrillation”, “coronary artery disease”, “heart valve disease”, “heart failure”. Out of the 1328 papers initially retrieved, 431 duplicates and 216 records in languages other than English were removed; thus, only 98 papers were included in our research material. We have found that AD and CVD are frequently associated, while both of them, alone may be considered deleterious to health, the study of their combination constitutes a clinical challenge. Further research will help to clarify the real impact of CVD and its risk factors on AD, in order to better comprehend the effects of subclinical and clinical cardiovascular diseases on the brain. It may be hypothesized that there are various mechanisms underlying the association between AD and CVD, the main ones being: hypoperfusion and emboli, atherosclerosis, furthermore in both the heart and brain of AD patients, amyloid deposits may be present, thus causing damage to these organs. We need to clarify the real impact of these underlying hypothesized mechanisms and to investigate gender issues.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Alzheimer disease
  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • dementia
  • oral anticoagulants
  • thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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