Systemic Inflammation and Cognitive Decrements in Patients with Stage B Heart Failure

Laura S. Redwine, Suzi Hong, Jordan Kohn, Claudia Martinez, Barry E. Hurwitz, Meredith A. Pung, Kathleen Wilson, Christopher Pruitt, Barry H. Greenberg, Paul J. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective This study aimed to investigate the role of systemic inflammation in reduced cognitive functioning in patients with early-stage heart failure (HF) while determining associations with other cardiovascular risk factors. Methods Patients with stage B HF (n = 270; mean [standard deviation] age = 66.1 [10.1] years) were examined cross-sectionally for relationships among cardiovascular disease (CVD) and psychological risk factors, C-reactive protein (CRP), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores. A subsample (n = 83) at high risk for stage C HF (B-type natriuretic peptide levels ≥65 pg/ml) were followed up for 12 months for relationships between CRP levels and cognitive function. Results Baseline smoking (χ2 = 6.33), unmarried (χ2 = 12.0), hypertension (χ2 = 5.72), greater body mass index (d = 0.45), and physical fatigue (d = 0.25) were related to higher CRP levels (p values <.05). Cross-sectionally, CRP levels were negatively related to MoCA scores, beyond CVD (ΔR2 = 0.022, β = -0.170, p <.010) and psychological risk factors (ΔR2 = 0.016, β = 0.145, p <.027), and related to mild cognitive impairment criteria (odds ratio = 1.35, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00-1.81, p =.046). Across 12 months, B-type natriuretic peptide high-risk patients with CRP levels ≥3 mg/L had lower MoCA scores (23.6; 95% CI = 22.4-24.8) than did patients with CRP levels <3 mg/L (25.4; 95% CI = 24.4-26.5; p =.024). Conclusions Patients with stage B HF and heightened CRP levels had greater cognitive impairment at baseline and follow-up, independent of CVD and potentially psychological risk factors. Low-grade systemic inflammation may be one mechanism involved in cognitive dysfunction at early stages of HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • C-reactive protein
  • cognitive function
  • heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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