Neuropsychological screening in the acute phase of cerebrovascular diseases

Ilaria Cova, Francesco Mele, Federica Zerini, Laura Maggiore, Valentina Cucumo, Michela Brambilla, Silvia Rosa, Pierluigi Bertora, Emilia Salvadori, Simone Pomati, Leonardo Pantoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Cognitive impairment is a common and disabling consequence of stroke. Its prevalence, the best way to screen for it in the acute setting, and its relation with premorbid status have not been thoroughly clarified. Materials and methods: Ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke patients admitted to our stroke unit underwent a baseline assessment that included a clinical and neuroimaging assessment, two cognitive tests (clock-drawing test, CDT; Montreal Cognitive Assessment-Basic, MoCA-B) and measures of premorbid function (including the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale). A follow-up examination was repeated 3-4 months after the acute event. Results: Two hundred and twenty-three patients (52.5% women, mean age ± SD 75.8 years ± 12.3) were evaluated. Prestroke cognitive impairment was present in 91 patients (40.8%). At follow-up, the prevalence of cognitive impairment was 49%, while its incidence among patients who did not have any prestroke cognitive impairment was 38.8%. Of the originally admitted 223 patients (71 were lost to follow-up), only 60 (26.9%) were still cognitively intact at follow-up. On regression analysis, age and baseline CDT were associated with worsening of cognitive status at follow-up. In patients without cognitive impairment at baseline, a cutoff of 23 for MoCA-B and of 8.7 for CDT scores predicted the diagnosis of post-stroke cognitive impairment with sufficient accuracy. Discussion and conclusion: Prestroke and post-stroke cognitive impairment affect a large proportion of patients with stroke. Our findings suggest that a neuropsychological screening during the acute phase might be predictive of the development of post-stroke cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2020


  • acute
  • assessment
  • cognitive impairment
  • outcomes
  • premorbid status
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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