Visit-to-Visit Variability in Blood Pressure Is Related to Late-Life Cognitive Decline

Bo Qin, Anthony J. Viera, Paul Muntner, Brenda L. Plassman, Lloyd J. Edwards, Linda S. Adair, Barry M. Popkin, Michelle A. Mendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The association between visit-to-visit variability of blood pressure (BP) and cognitive decline over time remains incompletely understood in a general population of older adults. We assessed the hypothesis that higher visit-to-visit variability in BP, but not mean BP, would be associated with faster decline in cognitive function among community-dwelling older adults. This prospective cohort study comprised 976 adults who had 3 or 4 visits with BP measurements as part of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1991, up to their first cognitive tests, and completed cognitive screening tests at ≥2 visits in 1997, 2000, or 2004. Visit-to-visit BP variability was expressed as the SD, coefficient of variation, or as the variation independent of mean BP across visits conducted at a mean interval of 3.2 years. Mean (SD) age at the first cognitive test was 64 (6) years. Using multivariable-adjusted linear mixed-effects models, we found higher visit-to-visit variability in systolic BP, but not mean systolic BP, was associated with a faster decline of cognitive function (adjusted mean difference [95% confidence interval] for high versus low tertile of SD variability: standardized composite scores -0.038 standard units (SU)/y [-0.066 to -0.009] and verbal memory -0.041 SU/y [-0.075 to -0.008]). Higher visit-to-visit variability in diastolic BP was associated with a faster decline of cognitive function, independent of mean diastolic BP, among adults aged 55 to 64 years but not those ≥65 years. Our results suggest that higher long-term BP visit-to-visit variability is associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline among older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


  • aging
  • blood pressure
  • cognition
  • hypertension
  • longitudinal studies


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