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Cause of death in demented and non-demented elderly inpatients; an autopsy study of 308 cases

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Johannes Attems


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Few studies evaluated cause of death (COD) in elderly demented and non-demented people, the majority based on death certificates alone. The present study is based on autopsy reports with neuropathological examination of 308 inpatients (58.1% female) over age 60 years (mean: 83.5, SD: +/-8.6). CODs were classified into seven groups. The most common were bronchopneumonia (n=117; 38%) and cardiovascular disease (n=116, 37.7%). In 176 patients (57.1%) neuropathology was indicative for dementia: 76.7% Alzheimer disease (AD), 4.5% vascular dementia, 4.0% mixed type dementia (AD + vascular dementia), and 14.8% other dementias. Main COD significantly differed in demented and non-demented patients: bronchopneumonia (45.5% in demented versus 28.0% in non-demented), cardiovascular disease (46.2% in non-demented versus 31.3% in demented). Whereas there were significant differences in COD between AD patients and non-demented ones (bronchopneumonia versus cardiovascular disease), no differences were seen between the latter and patients with other types of dementia than AD. Our data emphasize the high incidence of bronchopneumonia as a COD in patients suffering from AD.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Attems J, Konig C, Huber M, Lintner F, Jellinger KA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Year: 2005

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Pages: 57-62

ISSN (print): 1387-2877

ISSN (electronic): 1875-8908

Publisher: IOS Press


Notes: Attems, Johannes Konig, Claudia Huber, Monika Lintner, Felix Jellinger, Kurt A Netherlands Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD J Alzheimers Dis. 2005 Sep;8(1):57-62.