Neuropsychiatric symptoms in Vascular Cognitive Impairment: A systematic review

Neuropsychiatric symptoms or Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) are common and invariably appear at some point during the course of the disease, mediated both by cerebrovascular disease and neurodegenerative processes. Few studies have compared the profiles of BPSD in Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) of different subtypes (subcortical or cortical) and clinical stages (Vascular Cognitive Impairment No Dementia [VaCIND] and Vascular Dementia [VaD]). Objective: To review the BPSD associated with different subtypes and stages of VCI using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Methods: Medline, Scielo and Lilacs databases were searched for the period January 2000 to December 2014, with the key words: "BPSD AND Vascular Dementia, "NPI AND Vascular Dementia" and "NPI AND VCI. Qualitative analysis was performed on studies evaluating BPSD in VCI, using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Results: A total of 82 studies were retrieved of which 13 were eligible and thus included. Among the articles selected, 4 compared BPSD in Subcortical Vascular Dementia (SVaD) versus Cortical-Subcortical Vascular Dementia (CSVaD), 3 involved comparisons between SVaD and VaCIND, 1 study analyzed differences between CSVaD and VaCIND, while 5 studies assessed BPSD in CSVaD. Subcortical and Cortical-Subcortical VaD were associated predominantly with Apathy and Depression. VaCIND may present fewer behavioral symptoms than VaD. Conclusion: The profile of BPSD differs for different stages of VCI. Determining the most prevalent BPSD in VCI subtypes might be helpful for improving early diagnosis and management of these symptoms.