Objective: In the absence of stroke or transient ischemic attack, patients with advanced carotid stenosis or occlusion (ICAs/o) are considered asymptomatic, yet they are prone to mostly subtle cognitive impairment.
Background: The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) often fails to detect mild cognitive impairment. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is more sensitive in recognizing such changes.
Methods: Scores on the MoCA and MMSE were compared in 70 asymptomatic patients with ICAs/o and 70 controls matched for demographic variables and vascular risk factors.
Results: MMSE scores fell mostly within the normal range in both patients and controls. Differences were significant for total MoCA scores (P<0.001). Patients with ICAs/o performed worse on visuospatial and executive function (P=0.018), abstraction (P<0.001), and delayed recall (P<0.001). Lower MoCA scores were associated with diabetes (odds ratio=6.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.277-32.220; P=0.024) and older age (odds ratio=0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.780-0.956; P=0.004). Patients with diabetes performed worse on delayed recall (P<0.001), and patients with hypertension were worse on the MoCA naming subtest (P=0.04).
Conclusions: The MoCA successfully identified reduced cognitive status in patients with ICAs/o. The MoCA subtest scores revealed a pattern of cognitive impairment similar to that documented in other studies using more extensive neuropsychological tests. MoCA could be used as part of the clinical evaluation of patients with ICAs/o.