Cognitive Impairment is Associated with Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients.
The prevalence of cognitive impairment in hemodialysis patients is notably high. In previous studises performed in the general population, cognitive impairment has been associated with increased mortality.We evaluated the relationship between global cognitive function tested by a short screening instrument and mortality in hemodialysis patients.Cognitive testing was performed in 242 maintenance hemodialysis patients under standardized conditions at baseline using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).Cognitive impairment was defined as a MoCA test score<=24 points, as published previously. All-cause mortality was monitored during a median follow-up of 3.54 years. Kaplan-Meier plot and Cox regression model adjusted for known risk factors for mortality in hemodialysis patients were used to examine a possible association between global cognitive function and all-cause mortality.A MoCA test score<=24 points resulted in a significant almost 3-fold higher hazard for all-cause mortality (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 2.812; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.683-4.698; p< 0.001). After adjustment, this association was attenuated but remained significant (adjusted HR: 1.749; 95% CI: 1.007-3.038; p = 0.047).Impairment of global cognitive function measured by a short screening instrument was identified for the first time as an independent predictor of all-cause mortality in hemodialysis patients. Thus, implementing the MoCA test in clinical routine could contribute to a better risk stratification of this patient population.