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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1987 May;35(5):412-6.

Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire as a screening test for dementia and delirium among the elderly.


Pfeiffer's Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) is a brief screening test for organic brain syndromes. The validity of the SPMSQ was evaluated in a random sample of 119 community residents and 282 consecutively admitted medical inpatients. The SPMSQ proved to be a sensitive and specific screening test for moderate to severe dementia both in the community and hospital. Using the cut-off point (number of errors accepted) of three errors, the sensitivity of the test was 86.2% and the specificity 99.0% among medical inpatients. The percentages in the community sample were 66.7% and 100%, respectively. The validity of the SPMSQ was not as good for delirium because of its variable clinical picture. For screening purposes lower cut-off points than previously recommended should be used: three errors for dementia and two errors for delirium. Among Finnish elderly people it was not necessary to use correction for education in the SPMSQ.

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