Objective: To investigate the association between cardiac function and the risk of stroke and dementia in elderly free of clinical cardiac disease. Additionally, we investigated the relation between cardiac function and MRI markers of subclinical cerebrovascular disease. Methods: This study was conducted within the population-based Rotterdam Study. A total of 3,291 participants (60.8% female, age-range 58-98 years) free of coronary heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and dementia underwent echocardiography in 2002-2005 to measure cardiac function. Follow-up finished in 2012. In 2005-2006, a random subset of 577 stroke-free people without dementia underwent brain MRI on which infarcts and white matter lesion volume were assessed. Results: During 21,785 person-years of follow-up, 164 people had a stroke and during 19,462 person-years of follow-up, 208 people developed dementia. Measures of better diastolic function, such as higher E/A ratio, were associated with a lower risk of stroke (hazard ratio [HR] 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69; 0.98) and dementia (HR 0.82; 95% CI 0.70; 0.96). Better systolic function, measured as higher fractional shortening, was only associated with a lower risk of stroke (HR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72; 0.98). Better diastolic function was related to a lower prevalence of silent infarcts on MRI, especially lacunar infarcts. Conclusions: In elderly free of clinical cardiac disease, worse diastolic function is associated with clinical stroke, dementia, and silent infarcts on MRI, whereas worse systolic function is related only to clinical stroke. These findings can form the basis for future research on the utility of cardiac function as potential intervention target for prevention of neurologic diseases.

doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000001289, hdl.handle.net/1765/89315
Department of Radiology