Full completion of cognitive screening tests can be problematic in the context of a stroke. Our aim was to examine the completion of various brief cognitive screens and explore reasons for untestability. Data were collected from consecutive stroke admissions (May 2016–August 2018). The cognitive assessment was attempted during the first week of admission. Patients were classified as partially untestable (≥1 test item was incomplete) and fully untestable (where assessment was not attempted, and/or no questions answered). We assessed univariate and multivariate associations of test completion with: age (years), sex, stroke severity (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)), stroke classification, pre-morbid disability (modified Rankin Scale (mRS)), previous stroke and previous dementia diagnosis. Of 703 patients admitted (mean age: 69.4), 119 (17%) were classified as fully untestable and 58 (8%) were partially untestable. The 4A-test had 100% completion and the clock-draw task had the lowest completion (533/703, 76%). Independent associations with fully untestable status had a higher NIHSS score (odds ratio (OR): 1.18, 95% CI: 1.11–1.26), higher pre-morbid mRS (OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.02–1.60) and pre-stroke dementia (OR: 3.35, 95% CI: 1.53–7.32). Overall, a quarter of patients were classified as untestable on the cognitive assessment, with test incompletion related to stroke and non-stroke factors. Clinicians and researchers would benefit from guidance on how to make the best use of incomplete test data.
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