OBJECTIVES: To compare the predictive value of biomarkers commonly measured in older patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) with an indicator of cognitive function.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING: Helsinki, Finland.
PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred ninety-eight home-dwelling older persons (261 women, mean age 80) with stable CVD and without a diagnosis of clinical dementia.
MEASUREMENTS: Simple laboratory and clinical measurements (including the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE, maximum score 30 points) and New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification) were used to predict mortality. A MMSE score between 18 and 24 points was considered to indicate cognitive impairment.
RESULTS: At baseline, median MMSE score was 27 (interquartile range 25–28), with 59 individuals having a score below 24 points. During a mean follow-up of 6.0 years, 129 participants died. In the fully adjusted Cox proportional hazards model, low MMSE score was the strongest predictor of mortality, with a relative hazard of 2.38 (95% confidence interval=1.52–3.74; P<.001). Of the various clinical and laboratory variables, only creatinine, C-reactive protein, and history of congestive heart failure were significant independent predictors, whereas conventional risk factors were not.
CONCLUSION: Only a few clinical variables independently predicted 6-year mortality in older home-living patients with CVD. The strongest predictor was impaired cognitive function assessed using MMSE.