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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Geriatrics - Mental Health - Neurological Disorders

The Impact of Autonomic Dysfunction on Survival in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson's Disease with Dementia
Published: Monday, October 01, 2012
Author: Kajsa Stubendorff et al.

by Kajsa Stubendorff, Dag Aarsland, Lennart Minthon, Elisabet Londos

Introduction

Autonomic dysfunction is a well-known feature in neurodegenerative dementias, especially common in a-synucleinopathies like dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease with dementia. The most common symptoms are orthostatic hypotension, incontinence and constipation, but its relevance in clinical practice is poorly understood. There are no earlier studies addressing the influence of autonomic dysfunction on clinical course and survival. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of the three most common features of autonomic dysfunction and analyze how it affects survival.

Methods

Thirty patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease with dementia were included in this prospective, longitudinal follow-up study. Presence of incontinence and constipation was recorded at baseline. Blood pressure was measured at baseline, after 3 months and after 6 months according to standardized procedures, with 5 measurements during 10 minutes after rising. Orthostatic hypotension was defined using consensus definitions and persistent orthostatic hypotension was defined as 5 or more measurements with orthostatic hypotension. Difference in survival was analyzed 36 months after baseline.

Results

There was a high frequency of persistent orthostatic blood pressure (50%), constipation (30%) and incontinence (30%). Patients with persistent orthostatic hypotension had a significantly shorter survival compared to those with no or non-persistent orthostatic hypotension (Log rank x2?=?4.47, p?=?0.034). Patients with constipation and/or urinary incontinence, in addition to persistent orthostatic hypotension, had a poorer prognosis compared to those with isolated persistent orthostatic hypotension or no orthostatic hypotension (Log rank x2?=?6.370, p?=?0.041).

Discussion

According to our findings, the identification of autonomic dysfunction seems to be of great importance in clinical practice, not only to avoid falls and other complications, but also as a possible predictor of survival.

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