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Presence and Characteristics of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in Subacute Stroke Patients with Cognitive Impairment.

This retrospective cross-sectional study is aimed at investigating the prevalence and characteristics of behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPS) in subacute stroke patients with cognitive impairment. The Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire (NPI-Q) was used to assess BPS. A total of 358 consecutive patients with first-ever stroke admitted to rehabilitation wards and with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores < 24 on admission were included. BPS was defined as a total NPI-Q Severity or Distress score ≥ 1. Differences between the severity and presence of BPS among patients with severe cognitive impairment (MMSE scores 0-17) and those with mild cognitive impairment (MMSE scores 18-23) were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test and chi-squared test, respectively. Eighty-one patients (mean (standard deviation) age, 73.5 (13.1) years) were enrolled for analysis. BPS were observed in 69.1% and 74.1% of patients when assessed with NPI-Q Severity and NPI-Q Distress, respectively. The most frequently observed BPS was apathy, followed by depression (approximately 44% and 40%, respectively). The severity and frequency of delusions, euphoria, apathy, and disinhibition were significantly higher in the severe cognitive impairment group than in the mild cognitive impairment group. However, the severity, distress, and frequency of depression were not dependent on the severity of cognitive impairment. The presence of BPS, especially apathy and depression, in subacute stroke patients with cognitive impairment is high. The severity and frequency of some BPS are higher in patients with severe cognitive impairment than in those with mild cognitive impairment. However, depression is highly prevalent among the patients regardless of the severity of cognitive impairment.

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