Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) and decline in cognitive functioning and dementia are common problems in the elderly. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are connected with vascular dementia, but less is known about cognitive functioning among elderly patients with CHD based on population studies. Objective: To describe the associations between CHD and cognitive impairment among the elderly. Population and Methods: Of the total population of the Lieto study (488 community-dwelling men and 708 women, ≥64 years old), the ambulatory patients with CHD (89 men and 73 women) and sex- and age-matched controls without any sign of CHD (178 men and 146 women) were selected to make up the study population. CHD was defined as the presence of angina pectoris or a past myocardial infarction. Cognitive assessment was based on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Results: The total MMSE scores, the MMSE subtest scores and the overall test-based cognitive functioning did not differ between patients and controls. Among men, higher MMSE subscores in orientation and language were related to more severe chest pain. According to logistic regression analyses, the cognitive impairment of men was associated with high age, the use of cardiac glycosides and physical disability. Among women, cognitive impairment was associated with high age and the use of antipsychotics. Conclusion: In general, CHD has no independent association with cognitive impairment among the non-institutionalized community-living elderly. Among men, however, a complicated CHD may negatively affect cognitive functioning.

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