Survival time and differences between dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease following diagnosis: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

Ageing Res Rev. 2019 Mar;50:72-80. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2019.01.005. Epub 2019 Jan 6.


Objective: To synthesize the evidence across longitudinal studies comparing survival in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing survival in clinically diagnosed DLB to AD. Longitudinal cohort studies were identified through a systematic search of major electronic databases from inception to May 2018. A random effects meta-analysis was performed to calculate survival time and relative risk of death.

Results: Overall, 11 studies were identified including 22,952 patients with dementia: 2029 with DLB (mean diagnosis age 76.3; 47% female) compared with 20,923 with AD (mean diagnosis age 77.2; 65.1% female). Average survival time in DLB from diagnosis was 4.11 years (SD ± 4.10) and in AD 5.66 (SD ± 5.32) years, equating to a 1.60 (95% CI: -2.44 to -0.77) years shorter survival in DLB (p < 0.01). Relative risk of death was increased by 1.35 (95%CI: 1.17-1.55) in DLB compared to AD (p < 0.01). Differences in survival were not explained by follow-up time, age at diagnosis, gender, or cognitive score.

Conclusions: There is consistent evidence for higher and earlier mortality in DLB compared to AD. This is important for all stakeholders and underlines the importance of expanding research into DLB.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Lewy bodies; Mortality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lewy Body Disease / mortality*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Observational Studies as Topic / methods
  • Survival Rate / trends