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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Does reduced oxygen supply to heart causes memory and cognitive function loss?

Answered by
Dr. Ilir Sharka


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 6415 Questions

Posted on Mon, 9 Nov 2015 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: Doctor told my wife she needs a test to determine enough oxygen is getting to her heart. My observation is that her mental process is slowing. Could this be the cause?
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
I would explain as follows:

Detailed Answer:

Welcome and thank you for asking on HCM!

I understand your concern and would explain that the low oxygen to her heart could be related to the slowing mental process.

You should know that the heart and the brain are closely connected.

A cardiac disorder could lead to a low blood flow to the brain, thus resulting in a slow mental process.

Besides, depression, some metabolic disorders, and some degenerative disorders (like Parkinson disease and dementia) could lead to slowing of the mental process.

It is important to consult with a neurologist for a careful physical examination, some cognitive tests (MMSE, MOCA, etc.) and some blood lab tests :

-complete blood count (chronic anemia)
-blood gas analysis (to measure the blood oxygenation)
-kidney and liver function tests
-thyroid hormone levels (a hypothyroidism could lead to a low mental process),etc.

Regarding the heart I would like to have some more information on her symptoms and her performed tests.

Does she have chest pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, chronic fatigue, etc.?

Could you please upload her performed tests for me to review?

I would recommend consulting performing a resting ECG, a cardiac ultrasound and plasma levels of cardiac enzymes to examine her heart function and structure.

If your doctor thinks that there is no enough oxygen getting to her heart, it would be detected from changes in the above tests.

Further tests may be needed if suspicions are raised for a coronary artery disease (which could lead to cardiac ischemia) :
- a tread mill test
- a coronary angio CT scan to quantify her future coronary artery risk
- a coronary angiography would examine her coronary arteries and the blood flow in them.

You should discuss with her doctor on the above options.

Hope to have been helpful!

Feel free to ask any other questions whenever you need!

Best wishes,

Dr. Iliri

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka 20 hours later
Additional info.
1. Cardiology report on 10-8-15 stress test: There is a medium-sized reversible anterior wall perfusion defect suggestive of ischemia. Minimal apical lateral reversibility also noted. Left ventricular ejection fraction of 64%.
2. A heart catheterization is scheduled for 10-19-15.
3. Medications: metformin, glipizide, cristor, metaprolol, lisninopril, thyroid, nifediprine, fish oil, dha, 1 aspirin, 1-a-day vitamin, cranberry pills, biotic, DHEA, Plavix. Could this be medication overload?

Does his info. alter your opinion? Thanks!
I can't determine if the above additional information was actually sent to you, so I'll try again.
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Her symptoms are not related to any medication overload.

Detailed Answer:
Hello again!

Thank you for the additional information provided.

I understand your concern and would explain that her cardiac symptoms don't seem to be related to a medication overload.

Metformine, glipizide are drugs used for diabetes.

Metaprolol, lisinopril, nifedipine are used to controll high blood pressure.

Aspirine and Plavix are anti-platelet agents, which help reduce her cardiovascular risk.

Synthroid is used for the low function of thyroid gland.

Fish oil and crestor help reduce her cholesterol levels.

DHEA is used as a hormone replacement therapy, to decrease her cardiovascular risk and the risk of osteoporosis.

The others are just vitamines.

Anyway, based on her actual therapy she suffers from diabetes, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, which are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease).

Her performed cardiac tests indicate that a part of her heart has a low blood perfusion, which is indicative or cardiac ischemia.

That is why it is necessary to perform a coronary angiography (heart catheterization), to examine better the coronary arteries for a possible vessel stenosis (from atherosclerosis).

She should continue her actual medication, which is helpful in controlling the progression of this situation.

Regarding the slow mental process, you should consult with a neurologist and perform the tests I mentioned before. If her thyroid hormone levels are not normal, even with the medication she is taking, some changes in the dose (increase of the dose)may need to be done. You should know that a low level of circulating thyroid hormone could cause low slow thinking process.

Besides, other causes need to be investigated.

Hope to have been helpful!

Feel free to ask any other questions, whenever you need!


Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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