Document Type





Reduced cognitive function is common in persons with heart failure (HF). Cardiovascular fitness is a known contributor to cognitive function in many patient populations, but has only been linked to cognition based on estimates of fitness in HF. The current study examined the relationship between fitness as measured by metabolic equivalents (METs) from a standardized stress test and cognition in persons with HF, as well as the validity of office-based predictors of fitness in this population.


Forty-one HF patients enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation completed a standardized exercise stress test protocol, a brief neuropsychological battery, the 2-minute step test (2MST), and a series of medical history and self-report questionnaires.


Maximum METs from stress testing demonstrated incremental predictive validity for attention (β = .41,p = .03), executive function (β = .37,p = .04), and memory domains (β = .46,p = .04). Partial correlations accounting for key medical and demographic characteristics revealed greater METs was associated with the 2MST (r(32) = .41,p = .02) but not with the Duke Activity Status Index (DASI) (r(32) = .24,p = .17).


The current findings indicate that better fitness levels measured by METs is independently associated with better cognitive function in older adults with HF. Results also showed that METs was closely associated with one office-based measure of fitness (2MST), but not another (DASI). Prospective studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms linking fitness and cognitive function in HF.


Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Cognition and Perception | Physiology