Health-related quality of life and self-reported cognitive function in patients with delayed neurocognitive recovery after radical prostatectomy: a prospective follow-up study

  • BACKGROUND: Delayed neurocognitive recovery (DNCR) is a common and serious complication after radical prostatectomy. We hypothesized that patients with DNCR in the early postoperative period would report reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and more cognitive failures 12 months after surgery, compared with patients without DNCR.

    METHODS: We performed a 12-month follow-up on 367 patients who had been enrolled in a prospective observational trial to study the incidence of DNCR after radical prostatectomy. Patients were screened for preoperative cognitive impairment and depression. We defined DNCR as a decline in cognitive function between days 3 and 5 after surgery, compared with baseline assessments. We evaluated HRQoL and cognitive failures 12 months after surgery with the 36-item Short Form Health Survey and the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire. General linear models were used to analyze associations of DNCR with HRQoL and cognitive failures.

    RESULTS: Delayed neurocognitive recovery in the early postoperative period was significantly associated with self-reported cognitive failures (B for no DNCR =  - 0.411 [95% CI: - 0.798;0.024], p = 0.038), but not with physical (B = 0.082 [95% CI: - 0.021;0.186], p = 0.118) or mental HRQoL (B =  - 0.044 [95% CI: - 0.149;0.062], p = 0.417) 12 months after surgery. Preoperative depression screening scores were significantly associated with self-reported cognitive failures and both physical and mental HRQoL 12 months after surgery.

    CONCLUSIONS: Delayed neurocognitive recovery in the early period after radical prostatectomy has a long-term impact on patients' daily lives by impairing memory, attention, action, and perception. Therefore, prevention of DNCR must be a priority for physicians and researchers. Consequent preoperative screening for depressive symptoms may facilitate early psycho-oncological intervention to improve postoperative HRQoL. Trials registration DRKS00010014 , date of registration: 21.03.2016, retrospectively registered.

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