Evaluating Occurrence of Cognitive Impairment After Hospitalization for Myocardial Infarction

According to Dominika Kasprzak and colleagues, “accumulating evidence suggests a relationship between coronary artery disease (CAD) and the occurrence of cognitive impairment (CI).” They conducted a study, presented at the American College of Cardiology 71st Scientific Session & Expo, in which they concluded that “there is a high prevalence of previously undiagnosed CI in hospitalized patients due to myocardial infarction (MI).”

Furthermore, Kasprzak added that “peri-infarction CI can be both temporary and permanent. Some patients remain at risk of developing CI many months post-MI.”

These findings were based on an analysis of 220 patients who were hospitalized due to MI in Poland. The investigators assessed cognitive function at baseline (i.e., “a few days after their heart attack”) and again at six months using two tests: the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Clock Drawing Test (CDT), Schulman method.

Reportedly, CI was observed in 40.5% and 34.5% of the study participants based on the MMSE and the CDT, respectively. After six months, “significantly better results were recorded for both tests, and the prevalence decreased to 33.6% (MMSE) and 26.8% (CDT).” Among patients with disorders initially diagnosed via MMSE, 41 (46%) obtained a correct test result after six months, while 48 (54%) developed a permanent deficit. CI was diagnosed in 26 patients (11%) who had normal MMSE results during the hospitalization. CDT results were comparable.

Overall, Kasprzak and the study’s contributors suggested that “it is important to monitor patients regularly to detect changes in cognitive function early and to be able to implement appropriate management.