Survival and years of life lost in various aetiologies of dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and subjective cognitive decline (SCD) in Norway

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 21;13(9):e0204436. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204436. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: Alzheimer's disease patients are reported to have higher survival rate compared to patients with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. There is a paucity of studies investigating survival including persons with cognitive decline and dementia of various aetiologies.

Objectives: We aimed to compare survival for patients with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, mixed Alzheimer's/vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's disease, and other dementias compared to the general Norwegian population, taking into account the role of gender, cognitive function, function in everyday activities, comorbidity and education.

Methods: Patients (N = 4682), ≥65 years, in the The Norwegian register of persons assessed for cognitive symptoms (NorCog) during 2009-2017 were followed for mortality in the National Registry until January 2018. Flexible parametric survival models were applied to estimate relative survival, life expectancy and years of life lost for diagnostic groups compared with the general population.

Results: Patients with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's had the shortest survival, followed by mixed dementia, Alzheimer's disease, unspecified dementia, mild cognitive impairment and subjective cognitive decline. At age 70 years, men with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's had life expectancy of 4.7 years, which corresponded to 10.3 years of life lost compared to the general population. Years of life lost for other diagnoses were 10.0 years for mixed dementia, 9.2 years for Alzheimer's disease, 9.3 years for other dementias, 5.2 years for mild cognitive impairment and 2.2 years for subjective cognitive decline. Corresponding years of life lost in women were: 12.7 years, 10.5 years, 9.8 years, 10.6 years, 7.8 years, and 2.6 years. Poor relative survival among dementia patients was associated with male gender, comorbidity, low cognitive function, and low function in activities of daily living.

Conclusions: Compared with the general population, patients with subjective cognitive decline had no significant loss in life expectancy, while patients with mild cognitive impairment and all dementia subtypes had large losses, especially those with a diagnosis of vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / etiology*
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Survival Analysis

Grants and funding

The funder, The Norwegian Association for Public Health, had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the manuscript. BHS had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.