The validity of clinical diagnoses of dementia in a group of consecutively autopsied memory clinic patients.

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2008

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B.E. Gay et al., « The validity of clinical diagnoses of dementia in a group of consecutively autopsied memory clinic patients. », Serveur académique Lausannois, ID : 10.1007/BF02982566


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Abstract 0

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies show that up to 10% of individuals aged 65 years and older suffer from dementia, most commonly from dementia of the Alzheimer Type (DAT) (1). Clinicopathological studies are critical to our understanding of this disease and improving the accuracy of clinical diagnoses. OBJECTIVES: Our objectives were to examine the validity of clinical diagnoses of DAT, to determine the prevalence of different forms of dementia in this sample, and to investigate the relationship between age at death and polymorbidity. SUBJECTS AND METHOD: Clinical data were available from 221 patients who had been examined at the Basel Memory Clinic between 1986 and 1996. From this population, 34% (75 patients) were autopsied in the Department of Pathology, University Hospital Basel, and neuropathological examinations were additionally performed on 62 (83%) of these patients. Clinical and neuropathological data were retrospectively compared. RESULTS: 67.8% of the neuropathologically examined patients received a definitive diagnosis of AD (Alzheimer's disease), vascular dementia (VaD) or mixed dementia (AD and VaD). AD alone or with other histopathological hallmarks of dementia was the most prevalent neuropathological diagnosis (63%). VaD was deemed the only cause of dementia in only 4.8% of patients. The sensitivity for DAT was 75.9%, the specificity 60.6%. Increasing age was associated with an increasing number of clinical and neuropathological diagnoses. CONCLUSION: The sensitivity and specificity of the clinical diagnoses of DAT found in our study are similar to previous reports (2-5). Older patients had more etiologies of their dementia than younger patients. This study reaffirms the need for internationally accepted criteria for clinical and neuropathological diagnoses, as well as further clinical-neuropathological investigations to further refine the clinical diagnostic process.

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