hypertension; blood pressure; pulmonary arterial; brain function
Background: The effects of pulmonary arterial hypertension on brain function are not understood, despite patients' frequent complaints of cognitive difficulties. Using clinical instruments normally administered during standard in-person assessment of neurocognitive function in adults, we assembled a battery of tests designed for administration over the telephone. The purpose was to improve patient participation, facilitate repeated test administration, and reduce the cost of research on the neuropsychological consequences of acute and chronic cardiorespiratory diseases. We undertook this study to validate telephone administration of the tests. Methods: 23 adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension underwent neurocognitive assessment using both standard in-person and telephone test administration, and the results of the two methods compared using interclass correlations. Results For most of the tests in the battery, scores from the telephone assessment correlated strongly with those obtained by in-person administration of the same tests. Interclass correlations between 0.5 and 0.8 were observed for tests that assessed attention, memory, concentration/working memory, reasoning, and language/crystallized intelligence (p ≤ 0.05 for each). Interclass correlations for the Hayling Sentence Completion test of executive function approached significance (p = 0.09). All telephone tests were completed within one hour. Conclusion: Administration of this neurocognitive test battery by telephone should facilitate assessment of neuropsychological deficits among patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension living across broad geographical areas, and may be useful for monitoring changes in neurocognitive function in response to PAH-specific therapy or disease progression.