Post-carotid endarterectomy neurocognitive decline is associated with cerebral blood flow asymmetry on post-operative magnetic resonance perfusion brain scans

Wilson, David A.; Mocco, J.; D'Ambrosio, Anthony Louis; Komotar, Ricardo J.; Zurica, Joseph; Kellner, Christopher; Hahn, David K.; Connolly, Edward S.; Liu, Sheena Xin; Imielinska, Celina Z.; Heyer, Eric J.

Objective: Up to 25% of patients experience subtle declines in post-operative neurocognitive function following, otherwise uncomplicated, carotid endarterectomy (CEA). We sought to determine if post-CEA neurocognitive deficits are associated with cerebral blood flow (CBF) abnormalities on post-operative MR perfusion brain scans. Methods: We enrolled 22 CEA patients to undergo a battery of neuropsychometric tests pre-operatively and on post-operative day 1 (POD 1). Neurocognitive dysfunction was defined as a two standard deviation decline in performance in comparison to a similarly aged control group of lumbar laminectomy patients. All patients received MR perfusion brain scans on POD 1 that were analysed for asymmetries in CBF distribution. One patient experienced a transient ischemic attack within 24 hours before the procedure and was excluded from our analysis. Results: Twenty-nine percent of CEA patients demonstrated neurocognitive dysfunction on POD 1. One hundred percent of those patients with cognitive deficits demonstrated CBF asymmetry, in contrast to only 27% of those patients without cognitive impairment. Post-CEA cognitive dysfunction was significantly associated with CBF abnormalities (RR=3.75, 95% CI: 1.62-8.67, p=0.004). Conclusion: Post-CEA neurocognitive dysfunction is significantly associated with post-operative CBF asymmetry. These results support the hypothesis that post-CEA cognitive impairment is caused by cerebral hemodynamic changes. Further work exploring the relationship between CBF and post-CEA cognitive dysfunction is needed.


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Neurological Research

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Radiation Oncology
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August 13, 2012