The impact of postoperative cognitive training on health-related quality of life and cognitive failures in daily living after heart valve surgery: A randomized clinical trial


Background: Heart surgery is a risk factor for objectively and subjectively assessable postoperative cognitive decline (POCD), which is relevant for everyday life. The aim of this study was to investigate whether early postoperative cognitive training has an impact on health-related quality of life and cognitive failures in daily living after cardiac surgery. Methods: The study was a two-arm, randomized, controlled, outcome-blinded trial involving older patients undergoing elective heart valve surgery with extracorporeal circulation (ECC). Recruitment took place at the Departments of Cardiac Surgery of the Kerckhoff Clinic in Bad Nauheim (Germany) and the University Hospital in Giessen (Germany). The patients were randomized (1:1 ratio) to either a paper-and-pencil–based cognitive training group or a control group. We applied the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) prior to surgery and 3 months after the cognitive training. Data were analyzed in a per-protocol fashion. Results: Three months after discharge from rehabilitation, the training group (n = 31) showed improvement in health-related quality of life compared to the control group (n = 29), especially in role limitations due to emotional problems (U = −2.649, p = .008, η2 = 0.121), energy and fatigue (F[2.55] = 5.72, p = .020, η2 = 0.062), social functioning (U = −2.137, p = .033, η2 = 0.076), the average of all SF-36 factors (U = −2.374, p = .018, η2 = 0.094), health change from the past year to the present time (U = −2.378, p = .017, η2 = 0.094), and the mental component summary (U = −2.470, p = .013, η2 = 0.102). Conclusion: As our cognitive training has shown beneficial effects, this intervention could be a promising method to enhance health-related quality of life after cardiac surgery.




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Brain and behavior 13, 3 (2023), 1 - 10, e2915


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