Retrospective postmortem dementia assessment. Validation of a new clinical interview to assist neuropathologic study

Arch Neurol. 1991 Jun;48(6):613-7. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1991.00530180069019.


Neuropathologic studies of dementia and normal aging suffer from a lack of individuals examined for the presence and severity of dementia before death. To increase clinical information in such cases, a retrospective collateral interview was developed. Thirty-nine individuals were studied; 27 had autopsies. In all cases, the autopsy confirmed the Retrospective Collateral Dementia Interview (RCDI) diagnosis of the presence or absence of dementia; the RCDI had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 80% for specifically detecting probable Alzheimer's disease. Agreement between the RCDI and premortem diagnosis was 96%; between RCDI and medical records, 100%. Agreement between RCDI staging of dementia severity and the last assessment of the living subject was 70%; between the RCDI and a brief staging at death, 86%. This validation confirms the value of postmortem interviews with close informants to assess dementia presence and severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires