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      Cognitive Impairment in Transient Ischemic Attack Patients: A Systematic Review

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          Abstract

          Background: Although by definition a transient ischemic attack (TIA) lasts less than 24 h, many patients experience cognitive complaints beyond focal symptom resolution. However, their prevalence, causes and profile are unclear. We therefore performed a systematic review on cognitive impairment after TIA. Summary: Medline and Embase were searched for relevant studies. Risk of bias was assessed, and data synthesis was performed according to the severity of cognitive impairment. Thirteen studies were included, with considerable heterogeneity concerning methods and timing of cognitive testing. Confounding, detection bias and attrition were the main causes of a high risk of bias in several studies. The prevalence of post-TIA mild cognitive impairment ranged from 29 to 68%. Severe cognitive impairment was found in 8-22% of patients. Studies using a cognitive screening instrument and those performed shortly after TIA or several years later, reported the highest frequencies of impairment. Patients evaluated with a screening tool were substantially older than those who underwent a full neuropsychological assessment (weighted mean age difference 10.9 years). Based on limited data, the post-TIA cognitive profile showed prominent executive function deficits. Insufficient data refrained us from drawing conclusions on causality. The few studies that reported neuroimaging results found a minor correlation with cognitive impairment. Key Messages: Mild cognitive impairment is present in more than a third of the TIA patients and has a profile comparable with vascular cognitive impairment. Reported rates of post-TIA cognitive impairment are highly variable and higher frequencies are found with cognitive screening tools. Considerable heterogeneity and insufficient data limit further conclusions about potential causative factors.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Change in stroke incidence, mortality, case-fatality, severity, and risk factors in Oxfordshire, UK from 1981 to 2004 (Oxford Vascular Study).

          The incidence of stroke is predicted to rise because of the rapidly ageing population. However, over the past two decades, findings of randomised trials have identified several interventions that are effective in prevention of stroke. Reliable data on time-trends in stroke incidence, major risk factors, and use of preventive treatments in an ageing population are required to ascertain whether implementation of preventive strategies can offset the predicted rise in stroke incidence. We aimed to obtain these data. We ascertained changes in incidence of transient ischaemic attack and stroke, risk factors, and premorbid use of preventive treatments from 1981-84 (Oxford Community Stroke Project; OCSP) to 2002-04 (Oxford Vascular Study; OXVASC). Of 476 patients with transient ischaemic attacks or strokes in OXVASC, 262 strokes and 93 transient ischaemic attacks were incident events. Despite more complete case-ascertainment than in OCSP, age-adjusted and sex-adjusted incidence of first-ever stroke fell by 29% (relative incidence 0.71, 95% CI 0.61-0.83, p=0.0002). Incidence declined by more than 50% for primary intracerebral haemorrhage (0.47, 0.27-0.83, p=0.01) but was unchanged for subarachnoid haemorrhage (0.83, 0.44-1.57, p=0.57). Thus, although 28% more incident strokes (366 vs 286) were expected in OXVASC due to demographic change alone (33% increase in those aged 75 or older), the observed number fell (262 vs 286). Major reductions were recorded in mortality rates for incident stroke (0.63, 0.44-0.90, p=0.02) and in incidence of disabling or fatal stroke (0.60, 0.50-0.73, p<0.0001), but no change was seen in case-fatality due to incident stroke (17.2% vs 17.8%; age and sex adjusted relative risk 0.85, 95% CI 0.57-1.28, p=0.45). Comparison of premorbid risk factors revealed substantial reductions in the proportion of smokers, mean total cholesterol, and mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures and major increases in premorbid treatment with antiplatelet, lipid-lowering, and blood pressure lowering drugs (all p<0.0001). The age-specific incidence of major stroke in Oxfordshire has fallen by 40% over the past 20 years in association with increased use of preventive treatments and major reductions in premorbid risk factors.
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            Population-based study of event-rate, incidence, case fatality, and mortality for all acute vascular events in all arterial territories (Oxford Vascular Study).

            Acute coronary, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular events have common underlying arterial pathology, risk factors, and preventive treatments, but they are rarely studied concurrently. In the Oxford Vascular Study, we determined the comparative epidemiology of different acute vascular syndromes, their current burdens, and the potential effect of the ageing population on future rates. We prospectively assessed all individuals presenting with an acute vascular event of any type in any arterial territory irrespective of age in a population of 91 106 in Oxfordshire, UK, in 2002-05. 2024 acute vascular events occurred in 1657 individuals: 918 (45%) cerebrovascular (618 stroke, 300 transient ischaemic attacks [TIA]); 856 (42%) coronary vascular (159 ST-elevation myocardial infarction, 316 non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, 218 unstable angina, 163 sudden cardiac death); 188 (9%) peripheral vascular (43 aortic, 53 embolic visceral or limb ischaemia, 92 critical limb ischaemia); and 62 unclassifiable deaths. Relative incidence of cerebrovascular events compared with coronary events was 1.19 (95% CI 1.06-1.33) overall; 1.40 (1.23-1.59) for non-fatal events; and 1.21 (1.04-1.41) if TIA and unstable angina were further excluded. Event and incidence rates rose steeply with age in all arterial territories, with 735 (80%) cerebrovascular, 623 (73%) coronary, and 147 (78%) peripheral vascular events in 12 886 (14%) individuals aged 65 years or older; and 503 (54%), 402 (47%), and 105 (56%), respectively, in the 5919 (6%) aged 75 years or older. Although case-fatality rates increased with age, 736 (47%) of 1561 non-fatal events occurred at age 75 years or older. The high rates of acute vascular events outside the coronary arterial territory and the steep rise in event rates with age in all territories have implications for prevention strategies, clinical trial design, and the targeting of funds for service provision and research.
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              Cerebral small-vessel disease and decline in information processing speed, executive function and memory.

              Cerebral small-vessel disease is common in older people and may contribute to the development of dementia. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between measures of cerebral small-vessel disease on MRI and the rate of decline in specific cognitive domains in participants from the prospective, population-based Rotterdam Scan Study. Participants were 60-90 years of age and free from dementia at baseline in 1995-1996. White matter lesions (WML), cerebral infarcts and generalized brain atrophy were assessed on the baseline MRI. We performed neuropsychological testing at baseline and repeatedly in 1999-2000 and in 2001-2003. We used random-effects models for repeated measures to examine the association between quantitative MRI measures and rate of decline in measures of global cognitive function, information processing speed, executive function and memory. There were a total of 2266 assessments for the 832 participants in the study, with an average time from the initial to last assessment of 5.2 years. Increasing severity of periventricular WML and generalized brain atrophy and the presence of brain infarcts on MRI were associated with a steeper decline in cognitive function. These structural brain changes were specifically associated with decline in information processing speed and executive function. The associations between MRI measures of cerebral small-vessel disease and cognitive decline did not change after additional adjustment for vascular risk factors or depressed mood. After exclusion of participants with an incident stroke, some of the associations of periventricular WML, brain infarcts and generalized brain atrophy with measures of information processing speed and executive function were no longer significant. This may indicate that stroke plays an intermediate role in the relationship between cerebral small-vessel disease and cognitive decline. Our results suggest that in older people cerebral small-vessel disease may contribute to cognitive decline by affecting information processing speed and executive function.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CED
                Cerebrovasc Dis
                10.1159/issn.1015-9770
                Cerebrovascular Diseases
                Cerebrovasc Dis
                S. Karger AG (Basel, Switzerland karger@ 123456karger.com http://www.karger.com )
                1015-9770
                1421-9786
                June 2016
                18 February 2016
                : 42
                : 1-2
                : 1-9
                Affiliations
                Departments of aNeurology and bMedical Psychology, Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
                Article
                CED20160421-2001 Cerebrovasc Dis 2016;42:1-9
                10.1159/000444282
                26886189
                © 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 49, Pages: 9
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