Prevalence and clinical correlates of poststroke Behavioral Dysexecutive Syndrome


Background: Behavioral dysexecutive syndrome (BDES) is a common phenomenon following stroke. To date, research has focused mainly on individual behavioral symptoms rather than a more comprehensive characterization of goal-directed behavior in stroke survivors. This cross-sectional study evaluated the prevalence and clinical correlates of BDES in Hong Kong stroke survivors.

Methods and Results: A total of 369 stroke survivors were recruited from a regional hospital at 3 months after their index stroke. Patients’ demographic and clinical characteristics were extracted from a comprehensive stroke database. BDES was measured with the Chinese version of the Dysexecutive Questionnaire. Four neurocognitive batteries assessed domains of cognitive executive functions. The prevalence of BDES 3 months poststroke was 18.7%. At that time point, the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination scores and the presence of depression were significant predictors of BDES in a multivariate logistic regression analysis. These parameters remained significant predictors of the Dysexecutive Questionnaire score in a linear stepwise regression analysis and together accounted for 28.5% of the variance. Current depression was predictive of the Dysexecutive Questionnaire score in patients with BDES, with a variance of 9.7%. Furthermore, compared with the non-BDES group, patients with BDES exhibited poor performance-based executive function in the Chinese version of the Frontal Assessment Battery and color trails, arrow, and category fluency tests.

Conclusions: Symptoms of anxiety, current depression, and global cognitive function may be independent predictors of the presence and severity of BDES 3 months poststroke. Stroke survivors with BDES exhibit poor executive functioning, including goal maintenance and semantic memory. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8:e013448. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013448.)


anxiety, behavioral dysexecutive syndrome, depression, executive functioning, stroke

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