Serial Montreal Cognitive Assessments Demonstrate Reversible Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Acute Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke
Background and Purpose—Cognitive changes after ischemic stroke are often overlooked, particularly acutely and in patients with mild or transient deficits. We assessed patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke with serial cognitive screening tests. We tested the hypothesis that mild acute deficits are transient and improve after TIA/minor stroke.
Methods—Patients with acute TIA/minor ischemic stroke, without a history of cognitive impairment, presenting with a National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score ≤3 were assessed <72 hours of onset. Patients were administered the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) at days 1, 7, 30, and 90. Cognitive impairment was defined as MoCA <26 and MMSE ≤26.
Results—One hundred patients with a median (interquartile range) National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score of 1 (2) and median age of 68 (20) years were included. Baseline median MoCA score (26 ) was lower than the MMSE (29 ; P<0.0001). Cognitive impairment was detected in 54 of 100 patients (54%) with MoCA and 16 of 100 (16%; P=0.001) with MMSE. MoCA scores improved at day 7 (27 ), day 30 (28 ), and day 90 (28 ; P<0.0001). Resolution of cognitive deficits was because of resolution of recall deficits.
Conclusions—Acute temporary cognitive impairment after TIA/minor stroke is common. The MoCA is sensitive to these changes, but the MMSE is not. Routine cognitive assessment after TIA/minor stroke may be warranted and relevant to return to activities even when other neurological deficits are not evident.
- Received January 6, 2014.
- Revision received March 21, 2014.
- Accepted March 26, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.