Cognitive Performance in Asymptomatic Patients With Advanced Carotid Disease

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Abstract

Objective:

In the absence of stroke or transient ischemic attack, patients with advanced carotid stenosis or occlusion (ICAs/o) are considered asymptomatic, yet they are prone to mostly subtle cognitive impairment.

Background:

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) often fails to detect mild cognitive impairment. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is more sensitive in recognizing such changes.

Methods:

Scores on the MoCA and MMSE were compared in 70 asymptomatic patients with ICAs/o and 70 controls matched for demographic variables and vascular risk factors.

Results:

MMSE scores fell mostly within the normal range in both patients and controls. Differences were significant for total MoCA scores (P<0.001). Patients with ICAs/o performed worse on visuospatial and executive function (P=0.018), abstraction (P<0.001), and delayed recall (P<0.001). Lower MoCA scores were associated with diabetes (odds ratio=6.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.277-32.220; P=0.024) and older age (odds ratio=0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.780-0.956; P=0.004). Patients with diabetes performed worse on delayed recall (P<0.001), and patients with hypertension were worse on the MoCA naming subtest (P=0.04).

Conclusions:

The MoCA successfully identified reduced cognitive status in patients with ICAs/o. The MoCA subtest scores revealed a pattern of cognitive impairment similar to that documented in other studies using more extensive neuropsychological tests. MoCA could be used as part of the clinical evaluation of patients with ICAs/o.

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