Scientific article

Post-stroke cognitive impairment remains highly prevalent and disabling despite state-of-the-art stroke treatment

Published inInternational journal of stroke, 17474930241238637
Publication date2024-03-21
First online date2024-03-21

Background: State-of-the-art stroke treatment significantly reduces lesion size and stroke severity, but it remains unclear whether these therapeutic advances have diminished the burden of post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI).

Aims: In a cohort of patients receiving modern state-of-the-art stroke care including endovascular therapy, we assessed the frequency of PSCI and the pattern of domain-specific cognitive deficits, identified risk factors for PSCI, and determined the impact of acute PSCI on stroke outcome.

Methods: In this prospective monocentric cohort study, we examined patients with first-ever anterior circulation ischemic stroke without pre-stroke cognitive decline, using a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment ⩽10 days after symptom onset. Normative data were stratified by demographic variables. We defined PSCI as at least moderate (<1.5 standard deviation) deficits in ⩾2 cognitive domains. Multivariable regression analysis was applied to define risk factors for PSCI.

Results: We analyzed 329 non-aphasic patients admitted from December 2020 to July 2023 (67.2 ± 14.4 years old, 41.3% female, 13.1 ± 2.7 years of education). Although most patients had mild stroke (median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) 24 h = 1.00 (0.00; 3.00); 87.5% with NIHSS ⩽ 5), 69.3% of them presented with PSCI 2.7 ± 2.0 days post-stroke. The most severely and often affected cognitive domains were verbal learning, episodic memory, executive functions, selective attention, and constructive abilities (39.1%-51.2% of patients), whereas spatial neglect was less frequent (18.5%). The risk of PSCI was reduced with more years of education (odds ratio (OR) = 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.23-0.99) and right hemisphere lesions (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.26-0.84), and increased with stroke severity (NIHSS 24 h, OR = 4.19, 95% CI = 2.72-6.45), presence of hyperlipidemia (OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.01-3.68), but was not influenced by age. After adjusting for stroke severity and depressive symptoms, acute PSCI was associated with poor functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale > 2, F = 13.695, p < 0.001) and worse global cognition (Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score, F = 20.069, p < 0.001) at 3 months post-stroke.

Conclusion: Despite modern stroke therapy and many strokes having mild severity, PSCI in the acute stroke phase remains frequent and associated with worse outcome. The most prevalent were learning and memory deficits. Cognitive reserve operationalized as years of education independently protects post-stroke cognition.

  • Acute
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Memory deficit
  • Neuropsychological profiles
  • Post-stroke cognitive impairment
  • Risk factors
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Years of education
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
GALLUCCI, Laura et al. Post-stroke cognitive impairment remains highly prevalent and disabling despite state-of-the-art stroke treatment. In: International journal of stroke, 2024, p. 17474930241238637. doi: 10.1177/17474930241238637
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1747-4930

Technical informations

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