Survival following diagnosis of dementia

January 01, 0001

Survival following diagnosis of dementia

These UK researchers sought to estimate survival after a diagnosis of dementia in a primary care setting compared with people without dementia. They performed a cohort study using The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a primary care database in the UK. All patients aged 60 years or older with incident dementia diagnosed from 1990 to 2007 (n=22,529) were utilized. They were compared with a random sample of five participants without dementia for every participant with dementia matched on practice and time period (n=112,645).

The researchers report: "The median survival of people with dementia diagnosed at age 60-69 was 6.7 years, falling to 1.9 years for those diagnosed at age 90 or over. Adjusted mortality rates were highest in the first year after diagnosis (relative risk 3.68). This dropped to 2.49 in the second year. The incidence of recorded dementia remained stable over time (3-4/1000 person years at risk). The incidence was higher in women and in younger age groups (60-79 years) living in deprived areas."

The researchers concluded: "Median survival was much lower than in screened populations. These clinically relevant estimates can assist patients and carers, clinicians, and policy makers when planning support for this population. The high risk of death in the first year after diagnosis may reflect diagnoses made at times of crisis or late in the disease trajectory. Late recording of diagnoses of dementia in primary care may result in missed opportunities for potential early interventions."

This study provides useful epidemiologic data on mean survival following diagnosis of dementia.

For the full abstract, click here.

BMJ 341:c3584, 5 August 2010
© 2010 Rait et al.
Survival of people with clinical diagnosis of dementia in primary care: cohort study. Greta Rait, Kate Walters, Christian Bottomley, Irene Petersen, Steve Iliffe, Irwin Nazareth. Correspondence to G Rait: [email protected]

Category: N. Neurological. Keywords: dementia, survival, age, geriatrics, incidence, cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 24 August 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.