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Cognitive impairment and psychological state in acute coronary syndrome patients: A prospective descriptive study at cardiac rehabilitation entry, completion and follow-up
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing  (IF3.908),  Pub Date : 2020-06-15, DOI: 10.1177/1474515120933105
Robyn Gallagher, Anna Woolaston, Geoffrey Tofler, Adrian Bauman, Emma Zhao, Yun-Hee Jeon, Lis Neubeck, Julie-Anne Mitchell, Sharon L Naismith

BACKGROUND Cognitive impairment may limit the uptake of secondary prevention in acute coronary syndrome patients, but is poorly understood, including in cardiac rehabilitation participants. AIM The aim of this study was to explore cognitive impairment in relation to psychological state in acute coronary syndrome patients over the course of cardiac rehabilitation and follow-up. METHODS Acute coronary syndrome patients without diagnosed dementia were assessed on verbal learning, processing speed, executive function and visual attention, at cardiac rehabilitation entry, completion and follow-up and scores adjusted using normative data. The hospital anxiety and depression scale measured psychological state. RESULTS Participants (n = 40) had an average age of 66.2 (±8.22) years and were 70% men. Mild cognitive impairment occurred at cardiac rehabilitation entry in single 62.5% and multiple 22.5% domains but was significantly less prevalent by cardiac rehabilitation completion (52.5% and 15.0%) and follow-up (32.5% and 7.0%). Domains most often impaired were verbal learning (52.5%) and processing speed (25.6%), again decreasing significantly with time (verbal learning cardiac rehabilitation completion 42.5%, follow-up 22.5%; processing speed cardiac rehabilitation completion 15.0%, follow-up 15.0%). A small group of patients had persistent multiple domain cognitive impairment. At cardiac rehabilitation entry patients with cognitive impairment in processing speed, a single domain or multiple domains had more depression, and patients with cognitive impairment in executive function had more depression and anxiety. CONCLUSIONS At cardiac rehabilitation entry, mild cognitive impairment is very common in post-acute coronary syndrome patients and worse in patients who have depression or anxiety symptoms. Cognitive impairment decreases significantly by cardiac rehabilitation follow-up. A small proportion of patients has persistent, multiple domain cognitive impairment flagging potential long-term changes and the need for further investigations and cognitive rehabilitation.