Clinical Observations in Geriatrics
Published: 2017-09-15

Advanced carotid artery disease associated with recurring delirium followed by dementia

Sydney Medical School (Westmead), The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW Australia
Carotid artery stenosis Chronic cerebral ischemia Delirium Dementia Carotid endarterectomy Carotid artery stenting

Abstract

Background: delirium and dementia have been defined as different entities in the literature. Knowledge of the
relationship between delirium and dementia which are the major causes of cognitive impairment in the elderly
is scanty. There has not been any convincing demonstration of altered cognitive function to chronic cerebral
ischemia associated with asymptomatic carotid artery disease and remains a concept which is continuously
being debated.
Case presentation: a 79-year-old man with severe asymptomatic carotid artery disease presented with acute
delirium. This was followed by three other episodes over a period of 32 months. He was cognitively and functionally
normal prior to the first episode and in between the episodes of delirium. Following the fourth episode
he exhibited significant cognitive and functional deterioration consistent with dementia. CT scan had shown a
small focal hypodense lesion in the right region following the first episode. A duplex scan of the carotid arteries
had shown extensive disease of both common carotids and internal carotid arteries. It is surmised that the
dementia that followed was the result of a chronic cerebral ischemia resulting from the bilateral carotid artery
disease.
Conclusions: if the true role of occlusive carotid artery disease and progressive cognitive decline is acknowledged
then early endarterectomy may forestall the disaster. However the optimal treatment choice remains
unclear.

Affiliations

N. Nagaratnam

Sydney Medical School (Westmead), The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

S. A. Nagaratnam

Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW Australia

Copyright

© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2017

How to Cite

[1]
Nagaratnam, N. and Nagaratnam, S.A. 2017. Advanced carotid artery disease associated with recurring delirium followed by dementia. JOURNAL OF GERONTOLOGY AND GERIATRICS. 65, 3 (Sep. 2017), 169-172.
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