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Early MoCA predicts long-term cognitive and functional outcome and mortality after stroke

Neurology. 2018 Oct 17. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006506. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006506. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Zietemann V, Georgakis MK, Dondaine T, Müller C, Mendyk AM, Kopczak A, Hénon H, Bombois S, Wollenweber FA, Bordet R, Dichgans M,
Publication Date: 2018


To examine whether the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) administered within 7 days after stroke predicts long-term cognitive impairment, functional impairment, and mortality.

MoCA was administered to 274 patients from 2 prospective hospital-based cohort studies in Germany (n = 125) and France (n = 149). Cognitive and functional outcomes were assessed at 6, 12, and 36 months after stroke by comprehensive neuropsychological testing, the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale, the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and analyzed with generalized estimating equations. All-cause mortality was investigated by Cox proportional hazard models. Analyses were adjusted for demographic
variables, education, vascular risk factors, premorbid cognitive status, and NIH Stroke Scale scores. The additive predictive value of MoCA was examined with receiver operating characteristic curves.

In pooled analyses, a baseline MoCA score <26 was associated with cognitive impairment, defined by neuropsychological testing (odds ratio [OR] 5.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.75–10.22) and by CDR score ≥0.5 (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.53–4.18); functional impairment, defined by mRS score >2 (OR 5.03, 95% CI 2.20–11.51) and by IADL score <8 (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.40–4.38); and mortality (hazard ratio 7.24, 95% CI 1.99–26.35) across the 3-year followup. Patients with MoCA score <26 performed worse across all prespecified cognitive domains
(executive function/attention, memory, language, visuospatial ability). MoCA increased the area under the curve for predicting cognitive impairment (neuropsychological testing 0.81 vs 0.72, p = 0.01) and functional impairment (mRS score >2, 0.88 vs 0.84, p = 0.047).

Early cognitive testing by MoCA predicts long-term cognitive outcome, functional outcome, and mortality after stroke. Our results support routine use of the MoCA in stroke patients.

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