JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Jun 1;5(6):e2217132. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.17132.
IMPORTANCE: Incident atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an increased risk of dementia. However, data on the association between smoking cessation after AF diagnosis and dementia risk are limited.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between changes in smoking status after AF diagnosis and dementia risk.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This nationwide cohort study with 126 252 patients used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database, including patients who had a national health checkup examination within 2 years before and after AF diagnosis between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2016. Based on their smoking status, participants were classified as never smokers, ex-smokers, quit smokers, and current smokers. Ex-smokers were defined as those who had quit smoking before the first examination and remained quit until the second examination. Patients who were current smokers at the first health examination but had quit smoking before the second examination were classed as quit smokers. The index date was the second health examination. Patients were followed up until dementia, death, or the study period ended (December 31, 2017), whichever occurred first. Data were analyzed from January 13, 2020, to March 29, 2022.
EXPOSURES: Smoking cessation after newly diagnosed AF.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Dementia, including Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, was the primary outcome. Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to estimate hazard ratios.
RESULTS: A total of 126 252 patients (mean [SD] age, 62.6 [12.0] years; 61.9% men) were included in the analysis. The mean (SD) CHA2DS2-VASc score, which measures the risk of ischemic stroke, was 2.7 (1.7). Smoking status of the total study population was as follows: 65 579 never smokers (51.9%), 34 670 ex-smokers (27.5%), 8919 quit smokers (7.1%), and 17 084 current smokers (13.5%). During a median of 3 years of follow-up, dementia occurred in 5925 patients (1.11 per 1000 person-years). After multivariable adjustment, the risk of quit smokers was significantly lower than that of current smokers (hazard ratio, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.72-0.95]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this cohort study suggest that all types of smoking were associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia in patients with new-onset AF. Smoking cessation after AF diagnosis was associated with a lower risk of dementia than among current smokers. These findings may support promoting smoking cessation to reduce dementia risk in patients with new-onset AF.