Subjective Cognitive Failures in Patients With Hypertension Are Related to Cognitive Performance and Cerebral Microbleeds

Renske Uiterwijk*, Marjolein Huijts, Julie Staals, Annelien Duits, Ed Gronenschild, Abraham A. Kroon, Peter W. de Leeuw, Robert J. van Oostenbrugge

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous studies on the relationship between subjective cognitive failures (SCF) and objective cognitive function have shown inconsistent results. In addition, research on the association between SCF and imaging markers of cerebral small vessel disease is limited. We investigated whether SCF in patients with essential hypertension, who are at high risk of cerebral small vessel disease, are associated with objective cognitive function and magnetic resonance imaging manifestations of cerebral small vessel disease. We included 109 patients with hypertension who underwent extensive neuropsychological assessment, including questionnaires measuring SCF and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was performed to rate the presence of lacunes, cerebral microbleeds, and perivascular spaces, as well as white matter hyperintensities volume. Results showed significant associations between SCF and objectively measured overall cognition (B=-0.02; 95% confidence interval=-0.03 to -0.005), memory (B=0.02; 95% confidence interval=-0.03 to -0.004), and information processing speed (B=-0.02; 95% confidence interval=-0.03 to -0.001) after adjustment for patient characteristics and vascular risk factors. In addition, SCF were associated with the presence of cerebral microbleeds (odds ratio=1.12; 95% confidence interval=1.02-1.23) after adjustment for patient characteristics and vascular risk factors but not with other imaging markers of cerebral small vessel disease. Our study demonstrates that attention for SCF in patients with hypertension is needed because these may point to lower objective cognitive function, which might be as a result of the presence of cerebral microbleeds. Accordingly, this study emphasizes that neuropsychological assessment and brain imaging need to be considered when patients with hypertension report SCF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • cerebral microbleeds
  • cerebral small vessel disease
  • cognition
  • hypertension
  • subjective cognitive failures

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