A number of studies have shown that COPD, particularly in its later and more severe stages, is associated with various cognitive deficits. Thus, the primary goal of the present study was to elucidate the extent of cognitive impairment in patients with long-term oxygen therapy-dependent (LTOTD) COPD. In addition, this study aimed to determine the effectiveness of two cognitive screening tests, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), for COPD patients and the ability of oxygen therapy to mitigate COPD-related deficits in cognitive function.
The present study enrolled 45 subjects: 24 nonuser and 21 regular-user LTOTD-COPD patients. All subjects had a similar grade of education, and there were no significant differences regarding age or sex. The MoCA (cutoff: <26 points) and MMSE (cutoff: ≤24 points) scores were compared between these two groups.
The nonuser LTOTD-COPD group had a significantly lower MoCA score than that of the regular-user LTOTD-COPD group (19.38±2.99 vs 21.68±2.14, respectively) as well as a significantly lower MMSE score. Moreover, the absence of supplemental oxygen therapy increased the risk of cognitive impairment (MoCA, P=0.007 and MMSE, P=0.014), and the MoCA and MMSE scores significantly correlated with the number of emergency admissions and the number of hospitalizations in the last year.
In the present study, the nonuser LTOTD-COPD group exhibited a significant decrease in cognitive status compared with the regular-user LTOTD-COPD group. This suggests that the assessment of cognitive function in nonuser LTOTD-COPD patients and the use of protective strategies, such as continuous supplemental oxygen treatment, should be considered during the management of COPD in this population. In addition, the MoCA score was superior to the MMSE score for the determination of cognitive impairment in the nonuser LTOTD-COPD patients.