Vol. 6 nº 3 - Jul/Aug/Set de 2012
Original Article Páginas: 152 a 157

Association among depression, cognitive impairment and executive dysfunction after stroke

Authors Luisa Terroni1; Matildes F.M. Sobreiro1; Adriana B. Conforto2; Carla C. Adda3; Valeri D. Guajardo1,3; Mara Cristina S. de Lucia3; Renério Fráguas1


keywords: stroke, depression, cognition impairment, cognition, executive function, dysfunction, neuropsychological assessment.

The relationship between depression and cognitive impairment, frequent after stroke, is complex and has not been sufficiently elucidated.
OBJECTIVE: To review the relationship between post-stroke depression and cognitive impairment.
METHODS: We performed a PubMed database search spanning the last ten years, using the terms post-stroke depression, cognitive dysfunction, cognitive impairment and neuropsychological tests. Our target studies were original quantitative studies that investigated the relationship between post-stroke depression (PSD) and cognitive impairment in stroke patients. Articles published in English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese were considered. Selection criteria were the use of neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive function, and of either instruments to diagnose major depression, or scales to assess depressive symptoms, within the first three months after stroke.
RESULTS: Six original quantitative studies fulfilled the criteria. The prevalence of PSD within the first three months after stroke ranged from 22% to 31%. Incidence ranged from 25% to 27% and was evaluated in only two studies. PSD was associated with increased cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment was reported in 35.2% to 87% of the patients. Post-stroke cognitive deficits were reported mostly in executive function, memory, language, and speed of processing.
CONCLUSION: Executive dysfunction and depression occur in stroke survivors, are frequently coexistent, and also associated with worse stroke prognosis. Healthcare professionals need to address and provide adequate treatment for depression and executive dysfunctions in stroke patients early in the first three months after stroke. Future studies should evaluate the efficacy of programs evaluating the early detection and treatment of PSD and executive dysfunction in stroke survivors.


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