Introduction of an assessment toolkit associated with increased rate of DLB diagnosis

Ajenthan Surendranathan, Joseph Kane, Allison Bentley, Sally Barker, Richard J McNally, Claire Bamford, John-Paul Taylor, Alan J Thomas, Ian G McKeith, David Burn, John T O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and dementia in Parkinson’s disease (PDD) are recognised to be under-recognised in clinical practice in the UK, with only one third to a half of expected cases diagnosed. We aimed to assess whether clinical diagnostic rates could be increased by the introduction of a structured assessment toolkit for clinicians. Methods: We established baseline diagnostic rates for DLB and PDD in four memory clinics and three movement disorder/Parkinson’s disease (PD) clinics in two separate geographical regions in the UK. An assessment toolkit specifically developed to assist with the recognition and diagnosis of DLB and PDD was then introduced to the same clinical teams and diagnostic rates for DLB and PDD were reassessed. For assessing DLB diagnosis, a total of 3820 case notes were reviewed before the introduction of the toolkit, and 2061 case notes reviewed after its introduction. For PDD diagnosis, a total of 1797 case notes were reviewed before the introduction of the toolkit and 3405 case notes after it. Mean values and proportions were analysed using Student’s t test for independent samples and χ 2 test, respectively. Results: DLB was diagnosed in 4.6% of dementia cases prior to the introduction of the toolkit, and 6.2% of dementia cases afterwards, an absolute rise of 1.6%, equal to a 35% increase in the number of DLB cases diagnosed when using the toolkit (χ 2 = 4.2, P = 0.041). The number of PD patients diagnosed with PDD was not found overall to be significantly different when using the toolkit: 9.6% of PD cases before and 8.2% of cases after its introduction (χ 2 = 1.8, P = 0.18), though the ages of PD patients assessed after the toolkit’s introduction were lower (73.9 years vs 80.0 years, t = 19.2, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Introduction of the assessment toolkit was associated with a significant increase in the rate of DLB diagnosis, suggesting that a structured means of assessing symptoms and clinical features associated with DLB can assist clinicians in recognising cases. The assessment toolkit did not alter the overall rate of PDD diagnosis, suggesting that alternate means may be required to improve the rate of diagnosis of dementia in Parkinson’s disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
Number of pages8
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2021

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