BACKGROUND: Although most aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) patients suffer from neuropsychological disabilities, outcome estimation is commonly based only on functional disability scales such as the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Moreover, early neuropsychological screening tools are not used routinely.
OBJECTIVE: To study whether two simple neuropsychological screening tools identify neuropsychological deficits (NPDs), among aSAH patients categorized with favorable outcome (mRS 0-2) at discharge.
METHODS: We reviewed 170 consecutive aSAH patients that were registered in a prospective institutional database. We included all patients graded by the mRS at discharge, and who had additionally been evaluated by a neuropsychologist and/or occupational therapist using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and/or Rapid Evaluation of Cognitive Function (ERFC). The proportion of patients with scores indicative of NPDs in each test were reported, and spearman correlation tests calculated the coefficients between the both neuropsychological test results and the mRS.
RESULTS: Of the 42 patients (24.7%) that were evaluated by at least one neuropsychological test, 34 (81.0%) were rated mRS 0-2 at discharge. Among these 34 patients, NPDs were identified in 14 (53.9%) according to the MoCA and 8 (66.7%) according to the ERFC. The mRS score was not correlated with the performance in the MoCA or ERFC.
CONCLUSION: The two screening tools implemented here frequently identified NPDs among aSAH patients that were categorized with favorable outcome according to the mRS. Our results suggest that MoCA or ERFC could be used to screen early NPDs in favorable outcome patients, who in turn might benefit from early neuropsychological rehabilitation.