Carotid stenosis constitutes a common vascular disease that significantly affects cerebral blood flow and thus is associated with patients’ cognitive functions. Carotid revascularization techniques [carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS)] may benefit cognition, though there are opposing findings, reporting an apparent decrement in cognitive function, no effect, or an apparent improvement after revascularization. A great number of studies are trying to evaluate the effect of carotid revascularization (CEA, CAS) on patients’ cognitive functions, as well as on their psychological condition and quality of life through a baseline and follow-up neuropsychological examination. Recent reviews refer only to the narrow limits of cognitive deficits that may be attributed to carotid stenosis, rather than elucidating the outfit of all aspects of mental and cognitive correlations. Most of those findings depict controversy in current literature as far as the neuropsychological effects of carotid revascularization techniques are concerned, while clinical entities of “vascular dementia” and “vascular depression”, as well as intercurrent vascular risk factors are also addressed. This might be taken into consideration, when determining the optimal therapeutic strategy for tackling carotid artery occlusive disease, while best practice clinical decisions should be still focused on stroke prevention and symptoms alleviation, until further research on the field of neuroangiology presents undisputable conclusions regarding the underlying effects of revascularization on mood and cognition.    Τhe neurovascular interface, as far as mental and neurocognitive impact of carotid stenosis is concerned,  also, comprises, the conceptual pathophysiological entity of “atheroinflammation”,  underscoring the association of vascular lesions with cognitive impairment, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Chronic recurrent ischemia and chronic low perfusion are also addressed from neurocognitive aspect, regarding therapeutic strategies that might be preferred so as to reduce the burden of chronic cerebrovascular disease in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, given the fact that inflammatory processes of vascular complexion underlie both neuroinflammation and atherosclerosis, affecting cerebral perfusion as well as cortical blood flow.

KEYWORDS: Carotid stenosis, cognitive function, vascular dementia, vascular depression, Carotid Endarterectomy, Carotid Artery Stenting psychiatry.

Christos Ch. Liapis 

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