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J Vasc Surg. 2012 Dec;56(6):1571-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2012.05.092. Epub 2012 Aug 11.

Prospective neurocognitive evaluation of patients undergoing carotid interventions.

Author information

1
Department of Vascular Surgery, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA, USA. weizhou@stanford.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Distal cerebral embolization is a known complication of carotid interventions. We prospectively investigated whether subclinical microembolization seen on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) leads to cognitive deficits in patients undergoing carotid revascularization procedures.

METHODS:

Patients undergoing carotid interventions and eligible for MRI scanning were recruited. Among 247 patients who received preoperative and postoperative MRI evaluations, 51 also completed neuropsychologic testing before and at 1 month after their procedure. Cognitive evaluation included the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) for memory evaluation and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) for general cognitive impairment screening.

RESULTS:

The 51 patients (all men), comprising 16 with carotid artery stenting (CAS) and 35 with carotid endarterectomy (CEA), were a mean age of 71 years (range, 54-89 years). Among them, 27 patients (53%) were symptomatic preoperatively, including 11 who had prior stroke and 16 who had prior preoperative transient ischemic attack symptoms. Most patients had significant medical comorbidities, including hypertension (96%), diabetes (31.3%), coronary artery disease (47%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (15.7%). Two patients (4%) had prior ipsilateral CEA and eight had contralateral carotid occlusion (15.7%). Memory decline evident on RAVLT was identified in eight CAS patients and 13 CEA patients. Eleven patients had evidence of procedure-related microemboli. Although there was no significant difference in baseline cognitive function or memory change between the CEA and CAS cohorts, the CAS cohort had a significantly higher incidence of microembolic lesions. Multivariate regression analysis showed that procedure-related microembolization was associated with memory decline (P = .016) as evident by change in RAVLT. A history of neurologic symptoms was significantly associated with poor baseline cognitive function (MMSE; P = .03) and overall cognitive deterioration (change in MMSE; P = .026), as determined by Wilcoxon rank sum test and linear regression analysis, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although CEA and CAS are effective in stroke prevention, with minimal neurologic complication, neurocognitive effects remain uncertain. Procedure-associated microembolization and pre-existing neurologic symptoms are associated with poor baseline cognitive function and memory decline after the procedures. Further comprehensive cognitive evaluation to determine the benefit of carotid interventions is warranted.

PMID:
22889720
PMCID:
PMC3508143
DOI:
10.1016/j.jvs.2012.05.092
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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