Clinical Subtypes of Dementia with Lewy Bodies Based on the Initial Clinical Presentation

J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;64(2):505-513. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180167.


Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a heterogeneous disease in which clinical presentation, symptoms, and evolution widely varies between patients.

Objective: To investigate the existence of clinical subtypes in DLB based on the initial clinical presentation.

Methods: 81 patients with a clinical diagnosis of probable DLB were consecutively included. All patients underwent a neurological evaluation including a structured questionnaire about neuropsychiatric symptoms and sleep, an assessment of motor impairment (Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale subscale III), and a formal neuropsychological evaluation. Onset of core symptoms (hallucinations, parkinsonism, and fluctuations) and dementia were systematically reviewed from medical records. We applied a K-means clustering method based on the initial clinical presentation.

Results: Cluster analysis yielded three different groups. Patients in cluster I (cognitive-predominant, n = 46) presented more frequently with cognitive symptoms (95.7%, n = 44, p < 0.001), and showed a longer duration from onset to DLB diagnosis (p < 0.001) than the other clusters. Patients in cluster II (neuropsychiatric-predominant, n = 22) were older at disease onset (78.1±5 versus 73.6±6.1 and 73.6±4.2 in clusters I and III, respectively, both p < 0.01), presented more frequently with psychotic symptoms (77.3%, n = 17), and had a shorter duration until the onset of hallucinations (p < 0.001). Patients in cluster III (parkinsonism-predominant, n = 13) showed a shorter time from onset to presence of parkinsonism (p < 0.001) and dementia (0.008).

Conclusions: Three clinical subtypes of DLB can be defined when considering the differential initial presentations. The proposed subtypes have distinct clinical profiles and progression patterns.

Keywords: Clinical subtypes; Lewy bodies; cluster analyses; dementia with Lewy bodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / classification*
  • Lewy Body Disease / complications
  • Lewy Body Disease / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies