Clinical Presentation, Diagnostic Features, and Mortality in Dementia with Lewy Bodies.


BACKGROUND: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common degenerative dementia in older people. However, rates of misdiagnosis are high, and little is known of its natural history and outcomes. Very few previous studies have been able to access routine clinical information for large, unbiased DLB cohorts in order to establish initial presentation, neuropsychological profile, and mortality. OBJECTIVE: To examine in detail, symptom patterns at presentation and their association with outcomes, including mortality, in a large naturalistic DLB cohort from a secondary care sample. METHODS: A retrospective cohort design was used to identify a DLB cohort (n = 251) from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT). Information relating to first consultation, diagnosis, and DLB diagnostic features were extracted. RESULTS: A wide range of presenting complaints and differential initial diagnoses were identified for the cohort. Along with memory loss (27.1%) and hallucinations (25.4%), low mood (25.1%) was noted as a key presenting complaint among the DLB cohort. Rates of REM sleep disorder were considerably lower (8.4%) than would be expected. Deficits in non-amnestic cognitive domains were associated with reduced mortality compared with amnestic-only presentations. CONCLUSION: Individuals later diagnosed with DLB present initially to secondary care with a wide range of symptoms and complaints, some of which are not immediately suggestive of a DLB diagnosis. More examinations of large cohorts such as this are needed to further elucidate the complex presentation and clinical course of DLB, and to confirm whether amnestic-only presentation confers a worse outcome.