Cognitive impairment in hemodialysis patients is common and associated with adverse outcomes. So far, the underlying pathogenesis remains unclear. Therefore, we examined the potential relationship between cognitive impairment and three different categories of risk factors with particular focus on arterial stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV). A total of 201 chronic hemodialysis patients underwent cognitive testing under standardized conditions using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Demographic data including cardiovascular risk factors, dialysis-associated factors as well as factors related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) were analyzed. To account for arterial stiffness, PWV was measured by ambulatory blood pressure monitoried with an oscillometric device that records brachial blood pressure along with pulse waves. In our cohort, 60.2% of patients showed pathological MoCA test results indicating cognitive impairment. PWV was significantly associated with cognitive impairment apart from age, educational level, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. High prevalence of cognitive impairment in hemodialysis patients was confirmed. For the first time, an association between cognitive impairment and arterial stiffness was detected in a larger cohort of hemodialysis patients. Concerning the underlying pathogenesis of cognitive impairment, current results revealed a potential involvement of arterial stiffness, which has to be further evaluated in future studies.

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