Verbal memory impairment in congestive heart failure

R. Antonelli Incalzi, L. Trojano, Domenico Acanfora, C. Crisci, F. Tarantino, P. Abete, F. Rengo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive dysfunction, mainly memory impairment, characterizes congestive heart failure (CHF). Aim of this study was to verify whether: (1) CHF has differential effects on primary and secondary memory; (2) memory dysfunction can be diagnosed by a screening instrument. In a multicenter study we enrolled 369 patients with stable CHF who underwent a structured assessment of verbal memory mechanisms and selected cognitive functions. Performance on some verbal memory indexes (Recency, Rey's immediate and delayed recall, Learning efficiency) progressively decreased from II to IV New York Heart Association (NYHA) class. Rate of forgetting was uniformly high across NYHA classes II-IV. Verbal memory indexes were highly correlated with most nonverbal scores. The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) had poor sensitivity and specificity versus primary or secondary verbal memory dysfunction. Therefore, a deficit of both primary and secondary memory is relatively common in CHF but cannot be accurately recognized by a screening neuropsychological test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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