Informant-based screening tools for diagnosis of dementia, an overview of systematic reviews of test accuracy studies protocol

Syst Rev. 2020 Nov 26;9(1):271. doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01530-3.


Background: Robust diagnosis of dementia requires an understanding of the accuracy of the available diagnostic tests. Informant questionnaires are frequently used to assess for dementia in clinical practice. Recent systematic reviews have sought to establish the diagnostic test accuracy of various dementia informant screening tools. However, most reviews to date have focused on a single diagnostic tool and this does not address which tool is 'best'. A key aim of the overview of systematic reviews is to present a disparate evidence base in a single, easy to access platform.

Methods: We will conduct an overview of systematic reviews in which we 'review the systematic reviews' of diagnostic test accuracy studies evaluating informant questionnaires for dementia. As an overview of systematic reviews of test accuracy is a relatively novel approach, we will use this review to explore methods for visual representation of complex data, for highlighting evidence gaps and for indirect comparative analyses. We will create a list of informant tools by consulting with dementia experts. We will search 6 databases (EMBASE (OVID); Health and Psychosocial Instruments (OVID); Medline (OVID); CINAHL (EBSCO); PSYCHinfo (EBSCO) and the PROSPERO registry of review protocols) to identify systematic reviews that describe the diagnostic test accuracy of informant questionnaires for dementia. We will assess review quality using the AMSTAR-2 (Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews) and assess reporting quality using PRISMA-DTA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies) checklists. We will collate the identified reviews to create an 'evidence map' that highlights where evidence does and does not exist in relation to informant questionnaires. We will pool sensitivity and specificity data via meta-analysis to generate a diagnostic test accuracy summary statistic for each informant questionnaire. If data allow, we will perform a statistical comparison of the diagnostic test accuracy of each informant questionnaire using a network approach.

Discussion: Our overview of systematic reviews will provide a concise summary of the diagnostic test accuracy of informant tools and highlight areas where evidence is currently lacking in this regard. It will also apply network meta-analysis techniques to a new area.

Keywords: Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Diagnostic accuracy; Informant; Overview; Protocol; Review; Screening; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Dementia* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic