Background: Poststroke global cognitive decline and dementia have been related to poor long-term survival. Whether deficits in specific cognitive domains are associated with long-term survival in patients with ischaemic stroke is not known in detail.
Methods: Patients with acute stroke subjected to comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation were included in the study (n = 409) and followed up for up to 12 years.
Results: In Kaplan–Meier analysis, impairments in following cognitive domains predicted poor poststroke survival (estimated years): executive functions (48.2%) (5.8 vs 10.1 years, p<0.0001), memory (59.9%) (6.8 vs 9.3 years, p = 0.009), language (28.9%) (5.3 vs 8.6 years, p = 0.004) and visuospatial/constructional abilities (55.2%) (5.6 vs 10.1 years, p<0.0001). Low Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) ⩽25 (30.5%) (4.4 vs 9.3 years, p<0.0001), low education (<6 years) (31.8%) (6.4 vs 8.2 years, p = 0.003) and poor modified Rankin score (39.9%) (3.9 vs 9.7 years, p<0.0001) were also related to poor survival. In Cox regression proportional hazards analyses including age, sex and years of education as covariates, deficits in executive functions (hazard ratio (HR) 1.59, p<0.0001), memory (HR 1.31, p = 0.042), language (HR 1.33, p = 0.036) and visuospatial/constructional abilities (HR 1.82, p<0.0001) were significant predictors of poor poststroke survival. Of these, executive functions (HR 1.33, p = 0.040) as well as visuospatial/constructional abilities (HR 1.53, p = 0.004) remained as significant predictors after addition of MMSE⩽25 and poor modified Rankin score as covariates. Furthermore, cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND) was also an independent predictor of poor poststroke survival (HR 1.63, p = 0.0123).
Conclusions: In patients with ischaemic stroke, cognitive impairment, particularly in executive functions, and visuospatial/constructional abilities relate to poor survival.
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Funding This study was supported by grants from the Maire Taponen Foundation; the Paavo Nurmi Foundation; The Finnish Angiologic Association; the Medical Council of the Academy of Finland (Helsinki); the Clinical Research Institute, Helsinki University Central Hospital; the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (Helsinki); the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Elli and Elvi Oksanen Fund of the Pirkanmaa Fund under the auspices of the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Tampere); the Medical Research Fund of Tampere University Hospital; the Finnish Medical Foundation; and the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research (Helsinki).
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.