Objective: To determine whether cognition among those with carotid occlusive disease independently affects Quality of Life (QoL).
Introduction: Carotid occlusion may result in stroke, TIA, and reduction in cognition. QoL has been studied in stroke patients but less is known about QoL in patients with carotid occlusive disease without stroke or significant depression.
Methods: Subjects, selected from an NIH study of carotid occlusive treatment, included those with with history of TIA or a remote history of minor stroke, and excluded those with a history of stroke within 4 months prior, major deficits in ADL’s, and dementia. Because the relationship between depression and OoL is well-established, we excluded with moderate-severe depression. Patients underwent cognitive examination (memory, language, motor, executive function skills), completed depression and QOL questionnaires (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D), Stroke Specific Quality of Life (SSQOL), and were rated for stroke severity (NIHSS). Age-corrected Z-scores for cognitive tests were calculated and averaged into a composite cognitive Z-score (Cog-Z). The SSQOL scores were averaged across subgroup domains. Correlation analyses were performed to determine univariate relationships between the variables, with significant values put into in a regression model to predict SSQOL.
Results: Among 24 subjects (mean age=58.38 (2.01); 10 women), mean Cog-Z was –1.06 SD (Low Average range), mean CES-D score was 10.77 (normal range), mean NIHSS was 0.46 (normal range), and the mean SSQOL score was 3.92 (needing “a little help”). The correlations between NIHSS, history of prior stroke, and SSQOL were nonsignificant. In a regression model including Cog-Z and CES-D, Cog-Z was an independent predictor of SSQOL (Beta=.389, p=.038).
Conclusions: In patients with carotid occlusive disease without major stroke, cognitive scores were independently associated with QOL. Even minor reductions in cognition influenced QoL and were distinct from the influence of depression. These data further establish the clinical relevance of cognitive decline among patients with cerebrovascular conditions.