Vol. 5 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2011
Original Article Páginas: 328 a 331

Factors influencing possible delay in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: Findings from a tertiary Public University Hospital

Authors Luís Felipe José Ravic de Miranda1; Rafael de Oliveira Matoso1; Márlon Vieira Rodrigues1; Thiago Oliveira Lemos de Lima1; Adriano Fiorini Nascimento1; Fernando Castro Carvalho1; Débora Regina de Melo Moreira1; Jeferson Cruz Fernandes2; Jonas Jardim de Paula3; Luiz Alexandre V. Magno4; Paulo Caramelli5; Edgar Nunes de Moraes5

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keywords: Alzheimer's disease, delay in diagnosis, education, caregivers.

ABSTRACT:
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by impairment in memory and autonomy, causing excessive pressure on family and an overburdened health care system. Early diagnosis, with the appropriate treatment, is important to reduce the pattern of disease progression. Objective: The study sought to identify the most probable causes of delay in diagnosis. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving AD patients followed at an Outpatient Geriatric Clinic from a tertiary public university hospital was conducted between June 2009 and February 2011. Results: Ninety-four patients were evaluated (66% women), aged 77.76±6.8 years and with median educational level of 3 years (95% CI 2.7-3.80). Regarding severity of dementia, 51.8% of patients were classified as having mild dementia (CDR 1), 40% moderate dementia (CDR 2) and 8.2% severe dementia (CDR 3). Mean educational level of caregivers was 8.3±3.9 years. Among those who believed there was a delay, 36% stated that the "family thought that the changes were normal for the age of the patient" reporting average delay of 1.8 years (95% CI: 1.3-2.5) while 45.3% stated that the "doctor did not reach a diagnosis" reporting a median delay of 1.5 years (95% CI: 1.4-2.3). Conclusion: Based on these results, it can be concluded the time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis was excessive. This study may be useful to help increase awareness of issues not sufficiently discussed in the literature, such as diagnostic delay and influence of caregivers' educational level on treatment.

 

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