Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

Elena Cecilia Rosca, Loai Albarqouni, Mihaela Simu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
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This study aims to systematically review the evidence on the accuracy of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test for diagnosing HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and to outline the quality and quantity of research evidence available about the accuracy of MoCA in populations infected with HIV. We conducted a systematic literature review, searching five databases from inception until January 2019. We extracted dichotomized positive and negative test results at various thresholds and calculated the sensitivity and specificity of MoCA. Quality assessment was performed according to the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 (QUADAS-2) criteria. Eight cross-sectional studies met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Overall, 1014 patients were included but most studies recruited small samples. Recruitment period ranged from 2009 to 2015. We assessed most studies as being applicable to the review question though we had concerns about the selection of participants in three studies. The accuracy of MoCA for diagnosing HAND was reported at six cut-off points (scores 22-27). The MoCA test provides information about general cognitive functioning disturbances that contribute to a diagnosis of HAND. A lower threshold than the original cut-off of 26 is probably more useful for optimal screening of HAND, as it lowers false positive rates and improves diagnostic accuracy. Nonetheless, the choice of cut-off always comes with a sensitivity-specificity trade-off, the preferred cut point depending on whether sensitivity or specificity is more valuable in a given context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-327
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Issue number3
Early online date22 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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