The mini mental state exam as a predictor of neuropsychological functioning after cardiac surgery

E. J. Burker, J. A. Blumenthal, J. Lewis, M. Feldman, N. Croughwell, E. Thyrum, R. Schell, E. Mahanna, M. Newman, W. White, J. G. Reves, L. R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The present longitudinal study was designed to: 1) determine the ability of the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) to predict neuropsychologic impairment based on neuropsychologic testing five to seven days and six weeks after cardiac surgery; and 2) to determine whether the traditional or the education-related MMSE norms are more appropriate to use for this purpose. Method: The day before surgery (T1), before hospital discharge (T2), and six weeks after surgery (T3), 247 subjects completed a battery of five neuropsychologic tests. Subjects also completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and the Speilberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Subjects completed the MMSE two to three days after surgery. Results: Stepwise regression analyses revealed that the MMSE significantly predicted only a small portion of the variance in neuropsychologic test performance at T2, and to an even lesser extent at T3, over and above the demographic variables. In assessing the association between an impairment score (derived from the neuropsychologic test battery) and the MMSE, we found that the traditional MMSE cut-off score maximized specificity (number of true negatives) while the education-adjusted MMSE cut- off scores maximized sensitivity (number of true positives). Conclusions: These results suggest that although the MMSE is widely used to assess cognitive mental status, it may have limited value in identifying patients with cognitive impairment post-cardiac surgery, and special attention must be paid to the cut-off scores used in interpreting the MMSE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-276
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


  • MMSE
  • cardiac surgery
  • neuropsychological assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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