The Norwegian Cognitive impairment after stroke study (Nor-COAST): study protocol of a multicentre, prospective cohort study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Early and late onset post-stroke cognitive impairment (PCI) contributes substantially to disability following stroke, and is a high priority within stroke research. The aetiology for PCI is complex and related to the stroke itself, brain resilience, comorbid brain diseases, prestroke vulnerability and complications during the hospital stay. The aim of the Norwegian Cognitive Impairment After Stroke study (Nor-COAST) is to quantify and measure levels of cognitive impairments in a general Norwegian stroke population and to identify biological and clinical markers associated with prognosis for cognitive disorders following incident stroke. The study will be organised within five work packages: 1) Incidence and trajectories 2) Pathological mechanisms 3) Development of a risk score 4) Impact of physical activity and 5) Adherence to secondary prevention. Methods: Nor-COAST is an ongoing multicentre (five participating hospitals), prospective, cohort study with consecutive inclusion during the acute phase and with follow-up at three and 18 months, and at three years. Inclusion criteria are stroke defined according to the WHO criteria. During the recruitment period from 18.05.2015 to 31.03.2017, 816 participants have been included. Cognitive impairment will be classified according to the DSM-5 criteria using a consensus group. Cognitive function is assessed by a standardised neuropsychological test battery, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Trail making A and B, ten-word immediate and delayed recall test, the Controlled Oral Word Association, Global Deterioration Scale and proxy based information by and the Ascertain Dementia 8 item informant questionnaire. Biomarkers include magnetic resonance imaging, routine blood samples and bio-banking. Clinical assessments include characteristics of the stroke, comorbidity, delirium, frailty and tests for cognitive and physical function, sensor based activity monitoring and adherence to secondary prophylaxis. Discussion: Nor-COAST is the first Norwegian multicentre study to quantify burden of PCI that will provide reliable estimates in a general stroke population. A multidisciplinary approach aiming to identify biomarkers and clinical markers of overall prognosis will add new knowledge about risk profiles, including pre-stroke vulnerability and modifiable factors such as physical activity and secondary prophylaxis of relevance for clinical practice and later intervention studies.