Cognitive Performance and Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder

J Pers Med. 2022 May 2;12(5):743. doi: 10.3390/jpm12050743.


Background: The frequency of cognitive impairment (CI) reported in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is highly variable, and its relationship with demographic and clinical characteristics is poorly understood. We aimed to describe the cognitive profile of NMOSD patients, and to analyse the cognitive differences according to their serostatus; furthermore, we aimed to assess the relationship between cognition, demographic and clinical characteristics, and other aspects linked to health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Methods: This cross-sectional study included 41 patients (median age, 44 years; 85% women) from 13 Spanish centres. Demographic and clinical characteristics were collected along with a cognitive z-score (Rao’s Battery) and HRQoL patient-centred measures, and their relationship was explored using linear regression. We used the Akaike information criterion to model which characteristics were associated with cognition. Results: Fourteen patients (34%) had CI, and the most affected cognitive domain was visual memory. Cognition was similar in AQP4-IgG-positive and -negative patients. Gender, mood, fatigue, satisfaction with life, and perception of stigma were associated with cognitive performance (adjusted R2 = 0.396, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results highlight the presence of CI and its impact on HRQoL in NMOSD patients. Cognitive and psychological assessments may be crucial to achieve a holistic approach in patient care.

Keywords: cognition; health-related quality of life; mood; neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.