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Article
June 1991

Retrospective Postmortem Dementia Assessment: Validation of a New Clinical Interview to Assist Neuropathologic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Program on Aging, Department of Medicine (Drs Davis and White), the Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology (Dr Price), Pathology (Dr McKeel), and Psychiatry (Dr Robins), and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo. Dr Davis is now with the Section of Geriatrics, University of Pittsburgh (Pa).

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(6):613-617. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530180069019
Abstract

• Neuropathologic studies of dementia and normal aging suffer from a lack of individuals examined for the presence and severity of dementia before death. To increase clinical information in such cases, a retrospective collateral interview was developed. Thirty-nine individuals were studied; 27 had autopsies. In all cases, the autopsy confirmed the Retrospective Collateral Dementia Interview (RCDI) diagnosis of the presence or absence of dementia; the RCDI had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 80% for specifically detecting probable Alzheimer's disease. Agreement between the RCDI and premortem diagnosis was 96%; between RCDI and medical records, 100%. Agreement between RCDI staging of dementia severity and the last assessment of the living subject was 70%; between the RCDI and a brief staging at death, 86%. This validation confirms the value of postmortem interviews with close informants to assess dementia presence and severity.

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