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Rev Neurol. 2004 Nov 1-15;39(9):807-10.

[Cost effectiveness of the diagnostic study of dementia in an extra-hospital Neurology service].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Sección de Neurología, Hospital Vega Baja, Orihuela, Alicante, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to analyse the cost effectiveness of the complementary tests in the diagnosis of reversible causes of dementia in an extra-hospital Neurology service.


Patients referred to the Neurology service from Primary Care with a diagnosis of dementia according to DSM-III-R criteria. The following routine complementary tests were performed: 1. Analyses, including blood count, biochemical study, vitamin B12 and folic levels, thyroid hormones, and syphilis serodiagnosis; 2. Neuroimaging study, consisting in computerised axial tomography or cranial magnetic resonance.


A total of 269 consecutive patients diagnosed as suffering from dementia were included in the study. The mean age of the patients was 74.5 years (49-94 years) and 61% were females. The most frequent cause of dementia was Alzheimer's disease (79.9%). In all, 31 patients presented potentially reversible conditions (11.5%), but if we exclude depression, the dementia was only reversible in one patient (0.4%).


The percentage of patients with reversible causes of dementia in the field of extra-hospital neurology is low. The diagnostic study must be individualised according to the clinical suspicion.

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