Screening for Cognitive Dysfunction Helped to Unmask Silent Cerebrovascular Disease in a Hypertensive Diabetic Patient — Case Report

DOI: 10.1515/jim-2017-0037


The current guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension recommend screening for cognitive impairment in all hypertensive patients as part of the clinical assessment. How-ever, the implementation of this recommendation in clinical practice is still unsatisfactory. We present the case of an elderly hypertensive female patient in order to highlight the importance of screening for cognitive impairment. A patient with a history of poorly controlled hyperten- sion for the last 12 years and recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus is admitted complaining of asthenia, dizziness, visual acuity impairment, and difficulty to remember recent information. Cardiovascular imaging showed 70% internal carotid artery stenosis in a neuro-logically asymptomatic patient. Cognitive testing showed mild cognitive impairment. Retinal imaging identified stage III hypertensive retinopathy accompanied by irreversible end-organ damage due to microvascular changes. At this point brain MRI was performed, which identified both macro- and microvascular brain lesions in the periventricular white matter and sequelae of a former ischemic stroke in the territory of the left posterior cerebral artery. Cognitive test-ing helped to unmask silent cerebrovascular disease in an otherwise oligosymptomatic hy-pertensive diabetic patient. Cognitive function testing should be introduced in routine clinicalpractice in order to help unmask silent cerebrovascular disease.

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