Dementia risk is higher in adults who were born with heart disease, finds a new study. The study that involved more than 10,000 adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) discovered a particularly increased risk for early-dementia in middle-age adults.
"We've learned that CHD is a lifelong condition," says Nicolas Madsen, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and senior author of the study. "Research shows that children born with heart problems are at a greater risk for one or more neurodevelopmental issues when compared to children without heart disease. We can now say that the risk for these types of problems continues well into adulthood."
The study is published online in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.
The research team found a 60 percent increased risk of dementia compared to the general population. The risk was 160 percent higher (2.6 times higher) when comparing those less than 65 years old.
Dr. Madsen says it is important to recognize that many of these adults were born during a time when medical and surgical interventions were more limited than they are today. Still, he says "we need to understand the healthcare needs and risk factors affecting the larger number of middle-age and older adults currently living with CHD."
CHD occurs in six to 10 of every 1,000 live births. Because these individuals are now living longer, the population of those with CHD is experiencing different neurodevelopmental issues than those previously described only in infants, children and young adults.