Predictors of mortality in dementia: The PRIME study

Michael H. Connors, David Ames, Karyn Boundy, Roger Clarnette, Sue Kurrle, Alastair Mander, John Ward, Michael Woodward, Henry Brodaty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Dementia is a terminal illness. While various baseline characteristics of patients, such as age, sex, and dementia severity, are known to predict mortality, little research has examined how changes in patients' symptoms over time predict survival. There are also limited data on patients seen in memory clinics, as opposed to other health care settings, and whether antipsychotic medications are associated with mortality in dementia once patients' demographic and clinical features are controlled for. Objective: To identify predictors of mortality in patients with dementia. Method: Of 970 patients recruited from nine memory clinics around Australia, 779 patients had dementia at baseline. Patients completed measures of dementia severity, cognition, functional ability, neuropsychiatric symptoms, caregiver burden, and medication use at baseline and at regular intervals over a three-year period. Mortality data were obtained from state registries eight years after baseline. Results: Overall, 447 (57.4) of the patients with dementia died within the eight years. Older age, male sex, more severe dementia and functional impairment at baseline, greater decline in dementia severity and functional impairment over six months, taking a larger number of medications, and use of atypical antipsychotic medication predicted earlier mortality. Conclusions: The findings confirm that demographic and diagnostic features predict the survival of patients with dementia. Importantly, the findings indicate that changes in dementia severity and functional impairment over time predict mortality independently of baseline levels, and provide further evidence for the higher mortality risk of patients taking antipsychotic medications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-974
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Death
  • dementia
  • longitudinal study
  • mortality
  • predictors

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