TITLE

Interpreting studies of cognitive function following cardiac surgery: a guide for surgical teams

AUTHOR(S)
Rubens, Fraser D.; Boodhwani, Munir; Nathan, Howard
PUB. DATE
May 2007
SOURCE
Perfusion;May2007, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p185
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Patients with coronary disease and related health care providers are faced with confusing and often conflicting information with regards to the neurocognitive impact of different strategies for coronary revascularization. Studies involving the measurement of postoperative cognitive deficit (POCD) have significant limitations that may ultimately impact on their interpretation and clinical relevance. In this review, we have described the origin of these tests and delineated the rationale for the design of testing that is commonly used in cardiac surgery patients. In general, neurocognitive tests assess domains of memory/new learning, psychomotor speed/dexterity and attentional capacity/mental control. Pre- and post-intervention tests in each domain can be evaluated either by the measurement of mean change scores (Group Comparison Model) for the entire group as continuous data, or by using categorical or continuous data to examine patterns of individual decline (Individual Comparison Model). This latter approach requires a specific definition of what constitutes a decline, which can be criticized as being arbitrary. There are limitations to each of these approaches that necessitate that critical information in trial design is available to the reviewer to facilitate interpretation. For example, the impact of factors such as test/re-test reliability and practice effect can be mitigated by the use of an appropriately chosen control population. Liberal parlance of neurocognitive outcome as a rationale for therapeutic choice must be tempered by wise interpretation of these tests. It is only through the understanding of their limitations and the implications of trial design that we can translate these results to provide the best therapeutic options for our patients in unbiased manner.
ACCESSION #
26663035

 

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