Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2012, Article ID 402079, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Sleep Apnea and Cognitive Function in Heart Failure

1Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, Summa Health System, Akron, OH 44304, USA
3Institute for Brain Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
4Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
5Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
6Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

Received 20 January 2012; Revised 13 April 2012; Accepted 16 April 2012

Academic Editor: Heimo Viinamaki

Copyright © 2012 Krysten M. Knecht et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Prior research indicates that heart failure (HF) patients exhibit significant cognitive deficits on neuropsychological testing. Sleep apnea is associated with both HF and reduced cognitive function, but the combined impact of these conditions on cognitive function is unknown. Methods. In the current study, 172 older adults with a dual diagnosis of HF and sleep apnea or HF alone completed a battery of cognitive tests measuring attention, executive functioning, and memory. Results. Relative to patients with HF alone, persons with both HF and sleep apnea performed worse on measures of attention after adjusting for demographic and medical variables. Conclusions. The current findings suggest that HF patients with comorbid sleep apnea may be at greater risk for cognitive impairment relative to HF patient without such history. Further work is needed to clarify mechanisms for these findings and to determine whether the interactive effects on cognitive function lead to poorer patient outcomes.