Antemortem diagnosis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration

Ann Neurol. 2005 Apr;57(4):480-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.20425.


The objective of this article is to study the accuracy of antemortem clinical diagnoses of frontotemporal lobar degenerations (FTLDs). From brain autopsies performed on subjects enrolled in the Mayo Alzheimer Center between 1991 and 2003, cases with neuropathological diagnoses of FTLD were identified. Neuropathological diagnoses of FTLDs were based on consensus criteria for FTLD. The initial clinical histories, neuropsychological test results, brain imaging studies, and initial clinical diagnoses were reviewed. There were 34 pathological FTLD cases among 433 subjects who underwent autopsy; 29 of these 34 cases were diagnosed as FTLD antemortem based on the sum of clinical, neuropsychological, and imaging features (sensitivity, 85%). The specificity was 99%. Among the 34 cases with pathological FTLD, 27 (79%) had clinical histories diagnostic of an FTLD syndrome, 20 (62%) had neuropsychological profiles consistent with FTLD, 17 (50%) had magnetic resonance scans consistent with FTLD, and 7 of 8 who had functional imaging studies had ones consistent with FTLD. In those with incorrect antemortem diagnoses, three were thought to have Alzheimer's disease, one was considered hard to classify, and one was diagnosed with vascular dementia. The antemortem consensus diagnosis of FTLD was moderately sensitive and very specific. With experienced clinicians and awareness of the unique manifestations of FTLD, accurate antemortem diagnosis was feasible.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity