Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of cognitive and emotional impairments one year after first-ever mild stroke in younger patients
Design: Prospective, observational, cohort study.
Subjects: A consecutive sample of 117 previously cognitively healthy patients aged 18–70 years with mild stroke (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score ≤ 3) were included in 2 hospitals in Norway during a 2-year period.
Methods: At 12-month follow-up, patients were assessed using validated instruments for essential cognitive domains, fatigue, depression, anxiety, apathy and pathological laughter and crying.
Results: In total, 78 patients (67%) had difficulty with one or a combination of the cognitive domains psychomotor speed, attention, executive and visuospatial function, and memory. Furthermore, 50 patients (43%) had impairment in either one or a combination of the emotional measures for anxiety, depressive symptoms, fatigue, apathy or emotional lability. A total of 32 patients (28%) had both cognitive and emotional impairments. Only 21 patients (18%) scored within the reference range in all the cognitive and emotional tools.
Conclusion: Hidden impairments are common after first-ever mild stroke in younger patients. Stroke physicians should screen for hidden impairments using appropriate tools.
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