The brain in congestive heart failure

Domenico Acanfora, Luigi Trojano, Gian Luca Iannuzzi, Giuseppe Furgi, Costantino Picone, C. Rengo, P. Abete, Franco Rengo, Giancarlo Longobardi, Antimo Papa, Michele Rossi, G. Abate, L. D'Andrea, V. Palombo, R. Antonelli Incalzi, L. Marzulli, L. Terranova, G. Barbagallo Sangiorgi, E. Putignano, F. BindaP. Paiusco, P. Menaghini, M. Cafiero, A. Petrillo, F. Tarallo, G. Cerqua, M. Califano, R. Laudando, F. Corsonello, B. Mazzei, C. Zottola, G. Curri, A. Giorgini, G. Ceschia, L. D'Alessandro, V. Butrico, R. Esposito, A. Di Stefano, G. Torrisi, S. Di Mauro, F. Fabris, E. Ferrario, G. Fonte, S. Forconi, M. Guerrini, A. Marotta, A. Frustaglia, A. Mercuri, O. Mauri, G. Guizzardi, P. Sorrentino, A. Lanzilli, A. Marro, V. Marigliano, F. Campana, A. Desideri, G. Masotti, N. Marchionni, M. Di Bari, R. Mattace, L. Pansini, C. Iorio, V. Mazzeo, A. Morra, P. Maffettone, L. Motta, R. Sorace, M. Motta, G. Oriani, A. Matteazzi, R. Fabrello, E. Paciaroni, L. Quattrini, A. Andreoni, A. Pardo, I. Nardi, M. Russotto, G. Raganato, G. Caldarato, M. Tarantino, N. Ferrara, F. Cacciatore, S. Ricciardi, M. Simone, G. Salvioli, S. Rosa, F. Venturelli, U. Senin, G. Aisa, L. Parnetti, A. Tammaro, A. Fuschini, G. Campiglio, M. Trabucchi, S. Franzoni, P. Ranieri, M. Varricchio, A. Gambardella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present paper we discuss two issues about relationships between congestive heart failure and the brain. First, major acute cerebrovascular events are very frequent among elderly people, but stroke does not appear to be frequently associated with congestive heart failure. Second, some cardiovascular conditions may determine progressive damage of cerebral tissue, with consequent impairment of cognitive functions. The association of cognitive impairment and cardiovascular diseases may dramatically increase morbility and mortality risks in the elderly. Recent studies seem to show that hypotension and congestive heart failure are risk factors for dementia in elderly people. In view of this data, an Italian multicentric study on congestive heart failure in hospitalized elderly patients (CHF Italian Study I) included a brief screening of cognitive abilities (MMSE). The presence of congestive heart failure induced a significant decrease of MMSE scores: mean MMSE score after statistical adjustment for the other variables was about one point lower in patients with congestive heart failure respect to elderly patients affected by heart disease but without congestive heart failure. A novel multicentric study (CHF Italian Study II) has been performed to identify cognitive functions more specifically impaired during congestive heart failure in the elderly. Preliminary data relative to 385 patients, confirmed that congestive heart failure may induce a generalized impairment of cognitive functions. These data have relevant clinical implications because they demonstrate that a multidisciplinary approach is necessary in these patients, both for prevention and rehabilitation therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • Brain
  • Cognitive function
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Elderly
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)


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