Association of cardiovascular system medications with cognitive function and dementia in older adults living in nursing homes in Australia

Enwu Liu, Suzanne M. Dyer, Lisa Kouladjian O'Donnell, Rachel Milte, Clare Bradley, Stephanie L. Harrison, Emmanuel Gnanamanickam, Craig Whitehead, Maria Crotty

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Objective To examine associations between cardiovascular system medication use with cognition function and diagnosis of dementia in older adults living in nursing homes in Australia. Methods As part of a cross-sectional study of 17 Australian nursing homes examining quality of life and resource use, we examined the association between cognitive impairment and cardiovascular medication use (identified using the Anatomical Therapeutic Classification System) using general linear regression and logistic regression models. People who were receiving end of life care were excluded. Results Participants included 541 residents with a mean age of 85.5 years (± 8.5), a mean Psychogeriatric Assessment Scale-Cognitive Impairment (PAS-Cog) score of 13.3 (± 7.7), a prevalence of cardiovascular diseases of 44% and of hypertension of 47%. Sixty-four percent of participants had been diagnosed with dementia and 72% had received cardiovascular system medications within the previous 12 months. Regression models demonstrated the use of cardiovascular medications was associated with lower (better) PAS-Cog scores [Coefficient (β) = -3.7; 95% CI: -5.2 to -2.2; P < 0.0001] and a lower probability of a dementia diagnosis (OR = 0.44; 95% CI: 0.26 to 0.75, P = 0.0022). Analysis by subgroups of medications showed cardiac therapy medications (C01), beta blocking agents (C07), and renin-angiotensin system agents (C09) were associated with lower PAS-Cog scores (better cognition) and lower dementia diagnosis probability. Conclusions This analysis has demonstrated an association between greater cardiovascular system medication use and better cognitive status among older adults living in nursing homes. In this population, there may be differential access to health care and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors. This association warrants further investigation in large cohort studies.

Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geriatric Cardiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Cardiovascular agents
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Dementia
  • Residential facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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