Routine cognitive screening in older patients admitted to acute medicine: abbreviated mental test score (AMTS) and subjective memory complaint versus Montreal Cognitive Assessment and IQCODE.
Pendlebury ST., Klaus SP., Mather M., de Brito M., Wharton RM.
INTRODUCTION: Routine cognitive screening for in-patients aged ≥75 years is recommended, but there is uncertainty around how this should be operationalised. We therefore determined the feasibility and reliability of the Abbreviated mental test score (AMTS/10) and its relationship to subjective memory complaint, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA/30) and informant report in unselected older admissions. METHODS: Consecutive acute general medicine patients aged ≥75 years admitted over 10 weeks (March-May 2013) had AMTS and a question regarding subjective memory complaint (if no known dementia/delirium). At ≥72 h, the 30-point Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Informant Questionnaire for Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE) were done. Cognitive impairment was defined as AMTS < 9 or MoCA < 26 (mild impairment) and MoCA < 20 (moderate/severe impairment) or IQCODE ≥ 3.6. RESULTS: Among 264 patients (mean age/SD = 84.3/5.6 years, 117 (44%) male), 228 (86%) were testable with AMTS. 49/50 (98%) testable patients with dementia/delirium had low AMTS compared with 79/199 (44%) of those without (P < 0.001). Subjective memory complaint agreed poorly with objective cognitive deficit (39% denying a memory problem had AMTS < 9 (kappa = 0.134, P = 0.086)) as did informant report (kappa = 0.18, P = 0.15). In contrast, correlation between AMTS and MoCA was strong (R2 = 0.59, P < 0.001) with good agreement between AMTS < 9 and MoCA < 20 (kappa = 0.50, P < 0.01), although 85% of patients with normal AMTS had MoCA < 26. CONCLUSIONS: The AMTS was feasible and valid in older acute medicine patients agreeing well with the MoCA albeit with a ceiling effect. Objective cognitive deficits were prevalent in patients without known dementia or delirium but were not reliably identified by subjective cognitive complaint or informant report.